Aca-article: Investigating an “Internet of Hybrid Products”: Assembling Products, Interactions, Services, and Networks through Design
The article builds upon the curation and design of an exhibition that pulls together recent hybrids composed of physical objects as well as digital things and networked services.
This article takes up the relations between products, people, and the Internet. Our investigation is set in the context of the emergence of networked and service-driven physical products. The article builds upon the curation and design of an exhibition that pulls together recent hybrids composed of physical objects as well as digital things and networked services. Through investigating this selection of both prototypical and widely available consumer products, we seek to understand how the previously-separate domains of product, interaction, and service design might be combined in order to design and research new hybrid products, services, and interactions. Taken together, these investigations point toward an “Internet of Hybrid Products” that draws heavily from social practices in networked media that is already highly branded and in urgent need of attention from design research.
In recent years, we have seen the emergence of a new category of consumer products that are a hybrid of tangible atoms and digital bits. In this article, we introduce and discuss the term hybrid products to describe products that are connected to online services, that are based around digital data (often from sensors), and that rely on digital networks to function. Central to a discussion of hybrid products is the relationship between physical product, digital data, services, and emerging technologies. Current examples include products such as Olinda (a digital radio connected to a social network), Withings (an Internet-connected body scale), and Wattson (a personal energy monitor).
Published in Elsevier journal Computers and Composition, Volume 28, Issue 3.
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