Things making things: When Your Teacup Goes Online and Demands to Design Itself

“Would you like to know why we’re wearing a camera and recording everything without your permission?” Professor Chris Speed teased his audience at Skoltech, but only half jokingly. The Design Informatics professor from the University of Edinburgh and his Think Tank team observe, record and analyze the way we interact with everyday objects .The researchers grapple and tinker with some of the most intriguing questions brought up by the rise the Internet of Things: When everything is connected, can things design things? Can a tea cup go online and decide to interact with a kettle to create a social network of objects? Can a massive data set be mined from a fork and inspire surprising new designs and uses? Yes, yes and – once more – yes.