A project by Northumbria University Newcastle


Does your family own a Google Home (Mini)?

We are looking for a handful of families who would like to receive one or two of our Domestic Widgets. These Widgets are creations that display public data. Once assembled, you can tell your creation what to do using just your voice. No soldering, no coding – just build, customize, plug and say! We would like you to have a go, play around and show us what you use them for. This research is part of a project that explores how making/crafting with data can inform future uses of the ‘Internet of Things’ in our smart homes. At the beginning, we will post a few of these Widgets to your family by mail. Then, we will occasionally keep in touch (through video chat). As a token of gratitude, the Domestic Widgets you received become all yours – for you to use them as you want!

After initial contact, we can send you a bit more details, including an information sheet (see attached below). Upon consent for participation, we will send you a few Widgets via mail. We will then video chat before opening the package; to get to know each other but also to go through the study in a bit more detail. I’ll then leave you to it! You can try to assemble the Widgets, customize them and use our Google Home app (i.e. ‘Ok Google, Talk to Domestic Widgets‘) to give them different behaviour – depending on your preference! After one week, we’ll get in touch to see if any troubleshooting if needed or if our app needs some tweaking. Then, two weeks later, we would like to have another video chat, to see how things went! We are curious what you build with them, and how you have used them in everyday scenarios. After this, we would be happy for you to keep the Widgets as a token of gratitude; optionally with using our Google Home app.

Location: anywhere in the UK (we will send you the Widgets via mail).
When: Starting mid/end July, with our final video chat mid-August. Preferably you are not on a (long) holiday that period.
Aimed at: Families with child(ren), or multiple resident households.
Reward: You can keep the Widgets and their components, and use them as you like! We will offer you the opportunity to keep using our Google Home app.

If you might be interested, please drop me a line by sending an e-mail to david.verweij [at] northumbria.ac.uk. You can also contact me if you have any other question or suggestion!




This research has been approved by the Northumbria University Ethics Committee (Reference: 9952). During this study, we will screen record the video chats to revisit our discussions and to transcribe our verbal discussions - hereafter any video or audio will be deleted. Furthermore, we would like to take snapshots or receive pictures of the crafts and creations made. Interactions with our app through the Google Home will be stored, as well as usage data, in an anonymous and unidentifiable manner. Closer to the event date we will send an information sheet for additional information. You can also access the information sheet and consent form here: information sheet (Adult version), information sheet (Child-friendly version), consent form. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the lead researcher: David Verweij at david.verweij [at] northumbria.ac.uk.



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