Title: Making the future palpable: notes from a major incidents future laboratory

Authors: Monika Buscher, Margit Kristensen, Preben H. Mogensen

Addresses: Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YD, UK. ' Computer Science Department, Aarhus University, Aarhus N-8200, Denmark. ' Computer Science Department, Aarhus University, Aarhus N-8200, Denmark

Abstract: In this paper, we describe experiences from a future laboratory. Future laboratories allow users to experiment with prototypes of future technologies in as realistic conditions as possible. We have devised this method because, to realise the potential of advanced ubiquitous computing technologies, it is essential to anticipate and design for future practices, but for prospective users, it is often difficult to imagine and articulate future practices and provide design specifications. However, they readily invent new ways of working in engagement with new technologies and, by facilitating the realistic use of prototype technologies in future laboratories, designers and users can define and study both the opportunities and constraints for design. We present 11 scenes from a major incidents future laboratory held in September 2005. Many raise tough questions rather than provide quick answers. In addition, many also bring desirable and realisable sociotechnical futures into relief, illustrating the value of the future laboratory approach.

Keywords: ubiquitous computing; future practice; major incidents; emergency response; prototyping; participatory design; emergency management; future laboratories; sociotechnical futures.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2008.019911

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2008 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.145 - 163

Published online: 15 Aug 2008 *

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