Between the Tag and the Screen - Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i ...

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Between the Tag and the Screen - Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i ...

3 B C H A P T E R 1 : I N T R O D U C T I O NIn this work I use activity theory to gain a better understanding ofcomputational technology designers' use as materials. In doing so I expandthe object of study from SR-RFID to how SR-RFID may be seen as amaterial in designers’ activity. I use activity theory to analyse and structuretechnology as design materials, and draw particular attention toward theconcept of motive as used inside activity theory 3 . Leont’ev (1978) argues thatmotive is what directs activities and gives them meaning. The thesis willdiscuss why motives represent a particularly important aspect of industrialand interaction design and how these may be used to better analyse designingwith materials.It is important to be aware that using activity theory is not without problems.As I will cover later in this thesis, activity theory as a research approach hasreceived extensive criticism. Despite such criticism, this study has foundactivity theory tremendously helpful in bringing order to the complex activityof using SR-RFID as material in interaction and industrial designers'designing.STRUCTURE OF THESISThe thesis is structured in two parts. The first consists of three publishedarticles that are briefly presented in Chapter 5. The second part is the finalcontribution, this text, which extends the key findings of the articles.Part 1: The journal articlesThe thesis is based on three published journal articles that make up acomprehensive study of SR-RFID as design material. Together, they alsoshow how strategies of research by design can be used to develop newknowledge. Following is a brief description of the articles.1. Designing tangible interactions using short-range RFID (Nordby &Morrison, 2010).The first article reports on the design of tangible interactions using RFIDenabledphones and RFID tags. By applying the concept of affordances toactivity theory, the article shows that the tangible interaction opportunitiesRFID offers to designers may be addressed as motivational, instrumental andoperational design affordances. The article moves on to introduce a rich setof design affordances for RFID. This includes the concept of tap and hold, amodel describing tap and hold and a set of possible input techniques that maybe created using the aforementioned model.3 This study strictly follows motive as described in activity theory. This is important becausemotive in activity theory is placed within a larger theoretical context that is important for itsinterpretation.9

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