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Critical Loop

About this project

In Spring 2015 I took a course in Networked Objects at the Institute of Design. It might possible to network almost anything by connecting it to the Internet, including appliances, tools, toys, buildings, vehicles, clothing, and more. Adding sensors to these objects so that they can monitor their internal states, their environments and the ways they are used, and allowing these objects to collect, store, and transmit data, creates opportunities for improvement as well as potential problems.

This course took a critical perspective on the topic of networked objects, as a way to help designers navigate these new affordances by applying ideas from the field of Science and Technology Studies to the design process.

We spent the first half of the sixteen week workshop reading and discussing texts from a variety of scholars, and then during the second half of the workshop we produced this tool to help design and development teams reflect on the political and ethical dimensions of their work.

Critical Loop is a multiplayer board game that gives players the chance to think beyond technical specifications and discuss the sociotechnical aspects of emerging technologies. It includes a variety of sample objects to consider, along with sets of value and affordance cards to help players consider those objects from different perspectives.