Naturally, such visions must be tempered with thought and reflection. It is not entirely clear why domestic furniture might really need to be augmented using robotics. Moreover, how does one go about building a self-configurable chair—let alone environment—that behaves as expected and that does not simply become a burden to use and own? Deeper questions are raised too around the evolving nature of our interactions with things. Giving a degree of mechanical autonomy to our material surroundings is likely to transform how it is we actively engage with and make sense of the world, and in doing so feed ongoing debates surrounding material agency.
« Robots are set to play an increasing role in our everyday lives, particularly in our domestic interiors. Already, they have found their way into vacuum cleaners, sweepers, mops, and other automated service machines for the home. Looking beyond these largely predictable developments, advances in self-configurable and adaptive robots promise some radically new possibilities. Our furniture, for example, may be host to interconnected assemblies of robotic modules that can re-configure themselves to suit different purposes, events, or even moods. An adaptive home interior might also physically age with its occupants, conforming to their changing needs and operating to support their states of development and health.
Given this backdrop, we invite submissions to a Special Issue of the Journal of Physical Agents (JoPHA http://www.jopha.net ). Specifically, we invite submissions that introduce research being undertaken into self-configurable and adaptive furniture and domestic interiors. We hope for these submissions to reflect on what such furniture and interiors might look like, how they might work, and what they would be like to live with. We also hope to attract submissions that explore the questions and implications raised by such work.
By maintaining a breadth to this call, our aim is to bring authors together from a range of disciplines including, but not limited to: art, design, architecture, social science, computer science, robotics, artificial intelligence, smart textiles, furniture design, etc. »