Digital technologies require material resources — such as metals and plastics — to realize form and function, yet, the materiality of digital technologies is all too often invisible. This UW Tech Policy Lab project takes up this issue by investigating the materiality of near and longer-term technology visions and exploring tech policy directions responsive to considerations of materiality.
Computers are now integrating into everyday objects, from medical devices to children’s toys. Most consumers are unaware that these devices are constantly collecting, storing, or disclosing their personal information. Bringing these connected devices into the home particularly raises important issues of privacy and security.
The Lab is interested in the social impacts of the Internet of Things (IoT) and has begun a series of projects focusing on how the introduction of IoT devices impacts individual’s mental models and the psychological environment. Different than the smartphone, these devices are always on, blending into the background until needed by the adult or child user. We are working to develop best practices for toys and devices in the home that are connected to the internet.