Research Fellows Directory
Professor Matt Jones
There are millions of people in "developing regions" that are getting access to digital technology for the first time, through mobile phones. These people often have access to lower resources than those of us in the so-called 'developed' world (e.g. in terms of access to reliable and affordable internet, familiarity with computing concepts, literacy). Our work is looking at how to involve these communities in the design of future mobile devices and services so they better fit into their everyday lives.
This year, our work has seen communities from Townships in Cape Town and slums in Nairobi and Mumbai inspire us with their innovations. We worked with these groups, showing them some of the futuristic ideas that are coming out of labs globally along with some of the start of the art commercial systems (e.g. VR glasses). We asked them to think about how such concepts could be useful (or not) in their locations and what other ideas they had. This work has led to us exploring with them ideas around their own personal "cloud" they carry around (instead of connecting to the internet) and deformable mobile devices that can change shape and become tangible (feelable) to allow for more natural interactions.
Working with these very new users also has given us fresh insights that can help in the UK - for example, we deployed a 'chameleon' mobile device in the UK that attempts cut down on disruptive mobile use in public when a user is in a social group.