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Wi-Wave: Urban furniture for browsing internet contents in public spaces

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  • E. Rubegni
  • J. Brunk
  • M. Caporali
  • E. Gronvall
  • A. Alessandrini
  • A. Rizzo
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Abstract

Motivation - The socio-technical challenges created by Tangible User Interfaces with regards to invasiveness, privacy, visibility, control, etc. have been pointed out by several authors, but this case study focuses on two, more basic socio-technical aspects regarding the user's perspective and interaction with others. The paper presents a case study regarding the design of the interaction of interactive urban furniture, Wi-roni, for browsing information on the Web through a gesture-based interface in a public space. Research approach - The interaction modalities options were discussed and analyzed during the convergence phase, in which designers, technicians and users worked on the design of a prototype that could respond to the activity analysis and the shaping of physical factors. Findings/Design - The prototypes evaluation and assessment with users revealed many interesting aspects that mainly regard the interaction modality that changed significantly according to the shape of the artefact. Research limitations/Implications - Wi-roni is just a first exercise in this research direction. The design of other furniture will allows a more complete study regarding the emerging behaviour of the people involved in new and old convivial activities in public spaces. Originality/Value - We propose to respond to sociotechnical challenges by conceiving interaction modalities suitable for social activities complementing distant communication with in-presence communication and harmonizing "everywhere" with the specific values of a given location. Take away message - Designing unique artefact needs a big effort that is necessary in order to design a set of devices with an aesthetic and imaginative values.