This year’s overriding theme is connectedness — from ubiquitous computing to collaborative networks — the future is going to be communicative and all this communication is going to make our world much smarter. The ‘Internet of Things’ Smart Assistive Technologies strand at Flossie 2013 is exploring ways of involving everyday technology users in designing the ‘smart’ devices we will use in the future without needing the slightest understanding of the code, data, or engineering aspects.
The FLOSS community used to shake its head and complain that the world just wanted to engage with their personal computers in the same way they would engage with the minimally communicative interface of a pop up toaster. This meant that control over the computers which increasingly shape our lives was effectively taken away.
The popular simplification of smart device interfaces and social networking tools together with the emergence of SaaS has tended to confirm these gloomy prognostications and provoked much discussion recently in the Linux world. We could not, no matter how we tried, get the general public to look fondly upon acquiring technical skills as a means of controlling the technology shaping our world and, in many ways, who could blame them! It’s a bit of a heavy-duty learning-curve to add to busy everyday lives.
As the technology gets smarter, the interfaces get simpler, more and more is hidden from the user. Yet the field of open technology and data is getting more diverse and exciting and new possiblities for involving people more widely in technology design are opening out. We want to explore ‘pain free’ ways that end users can engage creatively with smart technology design and, at the same time, give designers, coders and data-wranglers new insights into what’s needed and lots of food for thought!
Whether this really floats your boat or leaves you adrift, we’ve organised a two-day strand which will take you through the currents in an organised and user-friendly way or more experienced coders and wranglers can dip in and out picking up just the bits which interest you:
- Talks on smart technologies, how it all works, and the social implications
- workshops taking you through the basics of wearable technologies, open sensor hardware and ‘big data’ from both skills-based and creative perspectives
- Co-design workshops where product designers, artists and architects, coders, and end-users will work together to imagine and prototype new possiblities
To sign up to participate, whether you’re close to clueless, a designer or creative, or an expert coder/wrangler: