The lives of objects: designing for meaningful things

Darzentas, Dimitrios Paris (2018) The lives of objects: designing for meaningful things. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Today’s Internet of Things (IoT) is often employed to connect material artefacts to digital identifiers and a digital record of their history and existence. This has been heralded as a coming together of our material existences and our increasingly-digital lives. Bringing each object that we create, use and cherish into the IoT, is an outwardly appealing prospect. Using material objects is an accepted part of connecting with narratives and our history, and such a technological boon already enables the storytelling opportunities that are supported by rich digital records.

However, in everyday life and in the practices that occupy them, people consider and share stories about the things that they feel to be meaningful to them in complex ways which do not necessarily conform to the expectations of the designers and developers who attempt to intervene and support such practices by focusing on the material objects at hand.

This thesis draws upon observations from a thorough engagement with the community of practice of the Tabletop Miniature Wargaming pastime, which involves the acknowledged craft and use of objects deemed as meaningful, to reveal that the practitioners, in reality, construct their shared records and narratives around intangible Identities, both singular and collective, which they find to be the actual ‘meaningful things’ of their activities. These findings contravene the conventional emphasis on the material objects, and pose technological and conceptual challenges. Considering these findings through a lens informed by philosophical grounding, the thesis examines the distinctions between ordinary objects and extraordinary things; how things become meaningful; and the interplay between material and abstract things.

The culmination of these efforts is the Meaningful Things Framework, which aims to help disambiguate the complex ways by which practitioners create, perceive and treat the meaningful things involved in their activities, and aid designers, developers and the communities themselves in understanding and supporting their practices.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Benford, Steve
Flintham, Martin
Brown, Michael
Keywords: Internet of Things, Things, Objects, Mixed Reality, Design, Meaning, Wargaming, Augmented Reality
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK5101 Telecommunication
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Item ID: 50282
Depositing User: Darzentas, Dimitrios
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 18:30

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