Bill Gaver

Professor of Design - Interaction Research Studio, Goldsmiths

Open source designs for homo ludens

Ludic approaches to design emphasise open-ended playfulness and exploration rather than the ‘solutions’ offered by more instrumental approaches to HCI. Our studio has developed and tested a number of designs — the Drift Table, Threshold Devices, Prayer Companion and Datacatchers, to name a few — that explore how technologies can be used to create situations and highlight topics while only loosely prefiguring users’ engagements. In this talk, I focus on two projects that continue our investigations of ludic design. ProbeTools are a set of bespoke cameras and audio devices designed for user studies, particularly those employing the design-led Cultural Probe approach. Citizen Naturewatch is working with the BBC to develop a set of devices to capture content about local wildlife. A feature of both projects is that the designs will be made available for anybody to make, with technical specifications and recipes for building available from project websites. A key part of the research is to see how people make and modify our playful designs.

About the speaker:

Bill Gaver is Professor of Design and leads the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, University of London. With his team, he pursues research through design, producing unusual computational artefacts for everyday life, and exploring design-led methodologies and concepts in the process.

My Sessions