Unreliable Machinery


The project investigates the future of context-aware devices and their poten­tial to alter human behaviour.

Commissioned by

Design Interactions Show

Scope of Work

  • Speculative Design
  • Diegetic Prototyping

Website Credits

Context-aware tech­no­logies aim to estimate a person’s activity by analysing mobile device sensors to gain insight into their beha­viour and envir­on­ment. Companies like Apple and Google are fighting for patents that imple­ment this concept in order to suggest their specific content and services.
Predefined rhythms of usage and patterns acquired through personal training allow mobile phones and other port­able gadgets to deduce what a person is doing at any given moment. In the near future, it may even be possible to obtain an estimate of someone’s emotional state by comparing various sensory inputs.
This project focuses on the possible consequences of such tech­no­logies and their possible impact on inter­per­sonal relationships. We inquired, for instance, what would happen if someone would obtain access to another person’s phys­ical or emotional data, or how would social etiquette adapt to this possible reality.
Current technologies, ones that do not assess such patterns, allow a medi­ation of inter­per­sonal rela­tion­ships via (at times manip­u­lative) with ­holding of inform­a­tion. This may change in the near future. Our exploration for was ways for to remain in control of the context perceived by such devices. To put more poignantly:

How can we trick our smart devices into believing lies?

The result is a series of analogue objects able fool such context-aware devices and services, using recorded activity patterns, analysed with the help of custom built soft­ware, to influence their algorithmic interpretation.

3d model of the apparatus
Rendering of different cam wheels simulating a specific type of motion: i.e. running
Simulation of a mechanical motion study

Credits & References

Studio NAND