with Caro Heesakkers and Naomi Kool
One of the main reasons to invest in a smart home is to protect the family in the house. This protective role is now predominantly taken up by the (male) smart home guru in the household. This sometimes leads to toxic masculinity, as the protective role of the guru transforms into obsessive, controlling behaviour. What if the smart home itself would become toxic?
To investigate what personality traits of a careful smart home are perceived and experienced as pleasant and which as toxic, we developed Rain. Rain is an artefact that lets users experience how a smart home might take over protective roles through a fictional scenario. Rain monitors digital and physical behaviour in and around the house and notifies users about health hazards, mali- cious login attempts in online accounts, and other suspicious behaviour. Starting off as supportive to its users, Rain becomes increasingly controlling throughout its usage; what if your careful smart home becomes a toxic host?
This project was part of the course Researching the Future Everyday by Lenneke Kuijer and Ron Wakkary at Eindhoven University of Technology, department of Industrial Design. Photos by Caro Heesakkers
Rain was featured in more detail in Lee, M., Noortman, R. R., Starke, A. D., Zaga, C., Huisman, G., & Andersen, H. K. (2020, September). Conversational Futures: Emancipating Conversational Interactions for Futures Worth Wanting. In CHI’21: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.