Exploring Research through Design in Animal-Computer Interaction

French, Fiona; Mancini, Clara and Sharp, Helen (2017). Exploring Research through Design in Animal-Computer Interaction. In: Proc. Fourth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, ACI2017, 21-23 Nov 2017, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, ACM Digital Library.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3152130.3152147


This paper explores Research through Design (RtD) as a potential methodology for developing new interactive experiences for animals. We present an example study from an on-going project and examine whether RtD offers an appropriate framework for developing knowledge in the context of Animal-Computer Interaction, as well as considering how best to document such work. We discuss the design journey we undertook to develop interactive systems for captive elephants and the extent to which RtD has enabled us to explore concept development and documentation of research. As a result of our explorations, we propose that particular aspects of RtD can help ACI researchers gain fresh perspectives on the design of technology-enabled devices for non-human animals. We argue that these methods of working can support the investigation of particular and complex situations where no idiomatic interactions yet exist, where collaborative practice is desirable and where the designed objects themselves offer a conceptual window for future research and development.

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