Materializing a
more-than-human
Internet of Things

A research project by Birgit Bachler

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) describes the idea of a global network infrastructure, in which physical objects, ‘things’, are connected to the Internet. Since the term was first mentioned in the early 1990s, the IoT has mainly developed around human, market- and technology- driven concerns, where ‘smart’ devices are employed to making our daily lives easier. While this scenario is largely dominated by human intentions, this research aims to explore how more-than-human perspectives can be included in the IoT design process.

more-than-human communities

This research introduces more-than-human communities around the local urban waterways of Wellington region as stakeholders and co-designers of an Internet of Things. The field of participatory design offers scholarship and methodologies for including non-designers into the design process but is generally considered a human-centered approach.
This research aims to widen this scope by inviting a variety of human and non-human IoT stakeholders to a series of innovative, immersive design workshops along local waters. Participants are invited to explore local waterways from a more-than-human perspective, using a variety of sensors, including audio, video, humidity, luminosity, temperature, flow etc. These immersive walks aim to collaboratively create prototypes for digital networks and DIY electronic devices, imagining novel ways of (re-)connecting with local Wellington waters.

DIY participatory IOT

The research outputs will include the production and exhibition of design artefacts, and the publication of a toolkit of methodologies. This research aims to provide valuable insights for designers and developers who seek to include marginalised voices into their design process when building an IoT that is not solely aimed at mainstream markets.