UCLIC Research Seminar Series
The increasing capability of smart mobile devices to use geolocation and networking has resulted in a proliferation of services that respond to the social and physical places we visit as we move through the world. This chapter reports and comments on a series of four provocative design projects undertaken in order to better understand location data as material that is composed of complex social, psychological, and physical properties, and to problematise the growing trend of services uncritically built upon these data. We describe how approaching these goals in a playful and mischievous manner allowed us to explore surprising, jarring or under-reported qualities of geolocation data. In each project, the design process began with ideation around the subversion of stereotypical uses of this data. Working prototypes were designed and implemented using contemporary hardware and software services. Through playing, using, or reading about these prototypes in the media, participants raised new questions and new concerns about how location data is mediated by smart devices, which were developed further in subsequent projects. We believe that this series of projects highlights the value of mischief and fun as a valid position through which to explore sociocultural aspects of new technologies.
Dr. Conor Linehan is a lecturer in the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, and member of the People and Technology research group. Conor's research focuses on the User-Centered Design and evaluation of technology to support health, wellbeing and education. He has a particular interest in understanding and promoting games, play and playfulness as a value in the design of technology. He has worked on diverse research projects, investigating the design of educational games, pervasive games, visual therapy programmes, sleep monitors, and online mental health interventions. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed academic papers, accruing 1,500+ citations. He serves on the programme committee of a number of international conferences, including ACM CHI, ACM DIS and ACM CHI PLAY.