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Gaining Wisdom through Smart Technologies

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Our houses are becoming smarter: they are increasingly equipped with devices and electronics that are connected to the internet and enable the automation of processes in and around the home without the intervention of the user. These systems, such as Nest, connect media equipment for home comforts and lifestyle choices, and increase household efficiency. Owning to these qualities, we call these systems smart. 

The reality, however, is that such systems rarely make the user wiser and are mainly aimed at making the company behind the product wiser. What would a smart system look like if it were aimed at increasing the users understanding of reality, rather than the technology companies understanding of the user? 

Case study

In this research, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony forms a basis for exploring how wearable and Internet of Things technology can invite a Self-Transcendent Experience (STE) within the everyday act of brewing and drinking tea. STE is a temporary mental state characterised by decreased self-awareness and increased feelings of belonging (Yaden et al., 2017). Through such an experience, the user can potentially acquire a new perspective on their relationship to the world and the way they see themselves. 

Research lab

This research takes place within one of the research labs of the Communication & Multimedia Design programme. The tutor-researcher is both a coach and collaboration partner for students. Within the project, the students are encouraged to investigate questions that are relevant to themselves as well as to the research described here. 

The research and prototypes were presented during Cultuurnacht 2020 in Breda. The project was also presented at the Dutch Design Week 2020 at the Embassy of Healtharrow.

Ongoing project, started September 2019. 

Principle investigator
Danielle Roberts

Other researchers involved
Nicola Liberati (Associate Professor Dept. of Philosophy at Shanghai Jiao Tong University)


Michel van Dartel

BALTAN Lab Eindhoven
Cultuurnacht Breda
Cultuurcentrum De Teruggave, Breda, Breda
Werkplaats CMD, Scott van Haastrecht 

Avans University of Applied Scienses 

‘For me, the iterative design-research process is an exciting journey towards designs that can transform human consciousness.’

Danielle Roberts is a researcher within the Situated Art and Design research group and a tutor at the Communication & Multimedia Design programme at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda.

Danielle Roberts arrow

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.

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