Sentient Products

An investigation into the potential of emotionally intelligent everyday objects.

Melanie Rieß

Christian Paulo

Sentient Product

Considering the advancing developments in the field of emotional artificial intelligence and the imminent penetration of all areas of life with emotionally aware technologies, the associated design tasks are becoming increasingly important.

If, in the near future, products acquire the ability to recognise the emotional state of users and adapt their behaviour accordingly, the relationship between people and their things could change fundamentally. For designers, this results in the responsibility to consciously shape this emotionally shaped relationship with technology and to carefully define the future role of emotionally intelligent products in our lives.

The subject of this work is therefore the question of which parameters are suitable for the design of emotionally intelligent products in the domestic environment and which potentials arise for the human-object relationship as a result.

The aim of answering this question is to show the design possibilities of emotionally aware technologies and thus to provide a strategic direction for design agencies and companies. With the design engagement within the project, we also want to stimulate discussions about desirable developments as well as possible social, cultural and ethical implications. Furthermore, the thesis should lay a foundation for further work.

An essential result of our project is a methodological framework for the design of "Sentient Products", with which the developed parameters can be transferred to a variety of products and use cases.

In order to make this framework more accessible to other designers, we have developed a modular workshop concept for different target groups within the design industry. This includes a design sprint lasting several days as well as a web-based training.

Furthermore, a speculative artefact in the form of an exemplarily designed product serves as a concrete illustrative example that combines all the insights gained and thus represents a transfer of the design parameters into practice. At the same time, the artefact demonstrates the potential of emotionally intelligent products on the basis of several concrete use cases and makes the corresponding future scenario implemented on film tangible and thus discussable.

A speculative artefact – the Sentient Lamp Tiiu.
Design details of the speculative artefact.
The Sentient Lamp on a pedestal inside the room.
The Sentient Lamp in interaction with a user.
The Sentient Lamp as a faithful companion in everyday life.
The Sentient Product Web Based Training.
The written elaboration on Sentient Products
The Sentient Product Workshop Kit.
The Sentient Product Design Sprint.
Different lessons of the Sentient Product Design Sprint.