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This UKRC project started September 2014, and is going really well. There are about ten of us working on it, along with Nottinghamshire Mind Network and the Oakfield College in Nottingham.

The An Internet of Soft Things project challenges how a radically connected world would be designed to benefit human well-being, and in particular, what types of experience can be instigated from smart textile interfaces.

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Research Aims

The primary aim of An Internet of Soft Things is the development of a participatory design methodology for the IoT informed by relational approaches in psychotherapy.

Our team of interactive textile developers, computer scientists and psychotherapists are working with Nottinghamshire Mnd Network to:

  • inform non-medicalised mental healthcare communities about the issues and opportunities for individuals in a networked society
  • inform the participatory design community about different philosophical modes of practice in psychotherapy
  • evaluate person-centred theory for its potential contribution to a new participatory design methodology for the IoT

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Research Objectives

There are three major phases in the Internet of Soft Things, in which service users become co-researchers, working with researchers and Mind staff. The scale of the textile network increases from the handheld, to the domestic, to the built environment through:

  1. series of workshops held at Mind, where participants create personalized textile objects with soft switches and light output
  2. service design workshops held in an apartment augmented with textile interfaces.
  3. participatory iteration of product service design concepts ‘in the wild’.

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We are beginning to publish academically, and present at public events, such as the Kings Fund, London, and Nottingham Mental Health Awareness Weeks.

Check out the project site for news, e-textile tutorial materials, and publications: http://aninternetofsoftthings.com/

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