Scandinavia 2036, one of the most urbanised areas in the world. Over 95% of the population lives in the large city regions. A highly educated and specialised workforce leads to fewer places where people can live and work.
Many still have strong connections to nature. Memories of childhood summers spent outdoors motivates people to leave the city and explore the countryside. Fresh air, clean water and clear skies attract city dwellers to leave the stressful urban life. Companies buy and renovated old empty farmhouses. These are sold with the promise of a simpler life and come prepared for people longing for emptiness and personal space. To create the countryside feeling old products are recycled but enhanced with new smarter hardware. Every product performs based on the original function. A window can open and close. A fridge keeps your groceries cold and makes sure you have what you need. The system communicates with its users and provides information from the outside world with a radio or a TV. The smart home incorporates core countryside values. Sometimes in sharp contrast to the city life. It trust its neighbours, gives you simple feedback and put you in tune with the surrounding nature.
This is and speculative design fiction project about the future smart home in 2036 with the explicit constraint to create faceless interactions.
Focusing on the Scandinavian countryside and the people living there. We have designed a system that utilises existing products strengths to build a future smart home that feels traditional. This system tries to incorporate values that we believe to be typical for the Scandinavian countryside and is therefore acting and behaving differently than existing smart homes. We have through interviews, writing and discussion been trying to understand what value the countryside will have in the future and who will choose to live there.
• A design fiction script. The story is about a young couple that the year 2036 invests in a countryside located second home. The story follows their first experience entering their new home. They soon notice that the house follows their discussion and movement and will assist or take action when it deems it necessary. This leads to forced interaction with the system and their neighbours.
• Experience Prototype: The radio that is one of the main products in the system. We prototyped the radio so we can play sounds from it and give it some personality. We do it by lighting two squares up with warm white color that makes it look likes eyes. We have two strings one in each eye we move using motors to animate emotions like sad and happy. The prototype is controlled by an Arduino that we control with a remote control.
• Exhibition: In our exhibition, we want to show different scenarios of how our system would work in different situations. Eg. if you drop your keys. How would the home react?
• Webpage with our village. On the webpage, we put all our material we produced in the research phase of the project. It contains the history, the different persons that live there and videos of what values they have and the atmosphere in our fictive village.
To understand who would live on the countryside of the future we created a fictive village. By drawing a map based on personal experiences we created a place with houses, farms and cottages in an undefined Scandinavian landscape. We then created people that could live there and gave them reasons to stay, move there or leave. We looked at statistics websites and google maps to get an idea of how a small placed would be experienced from the outside (www.hitta.se and www.google.se/maps). We created statistics of this place. How many lived there, average age, hobbies and work environment. We cut together a visual map showing the layout of the village but also a digital footprint map to see what kind of connected devices were present in the area Inspired by search engines like www.shodan.io and thingful.net.
We created personas of people living in the village, their background story and what home means to them. We tried to define their different motivations for living in the village. To get a even better understanding of the people in the village we created short (1-3 min) videos presenting some characters from the village. They were made by sourcing video clips online and cut them together with music and voices. We also made one presentation video of the whole village. These videos helped set the tone for what we later choose to call the last village. Balancing on the edge between real and unreal they made us questioning what the village really was. Was it supposed to be a real place or just a concept of a place.
The final design is an IoT system for the traditional home. It’s in many ways simpler than the systems that we have now. It focuses on utilising traditional products dumb/real qualities and bringing them to the smart domain. Instead of creating new products we tried to enhance the once we already have in the home. The centrepiece is an old radio. It does what it’s good at, playing sound-based media and access the outside world (outside of the home). The fridge can not speak, it uses fridge magnets and notes to communicate or indicate what it’s doing. Blinds can open or close. The door can unlock and open itself. Maybe not revolutionising but what we might actually need. Our system has some of the values that we found in the research about living on the countryside. Why do we need to look our house, we know all the people around. There are not any problems with just opening a window to let some fresh air in. Talking about or doing mundane things are part of life and might even be a pleasant experience. Keeping products and services down to earth sensible and easy to understand