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Can’t Touch This: Rethinking Public Technology in a COVID-19 Era
CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
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DOI (Published version): 10.1145/3491102.3501980
What do pedestrian crossings, ATMs, elevators and ticket machines have in common? These are just a few of the ubiquitous yet essential elements of public-space infrastructure that rely on physical buttons or touchscreens; common interactions that, until recently, were considered perfectly safe to pe...
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New York, NY, USA
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What do pedestrian crossings, ATMs, elevators and ticket machines have in common? These are just a few of the ubiquitous yet essential elements of public-space infrastructure that rely on physical buttons or touchscreens; common interactions that, until recently, were considered perfectly safe to perform. This work investigates how we might integrate touchless technologies into public-space infrastructure in order to minimise physical interaction with shared devices in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on an ethnographic exploration into how public utilities are being used, adapted or avoided, we developed and evaluated a suite of technology probes that can be either retrofitted into, or replace, these services. In-situ community deployments of our probes demonstrate strong uptake and provide insight into how hands-free technologies can be adapted and utilised for the public domain; and, in turn, used to inform the future of walk-up-and use public technologies.
Public displays, field studies, prototyping/implementation
Faculty of Science and Engineering
This work was supported by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grants EP/W01257X/1, EP/M022722/1, EP/T024976/1 and EP/R032750/1.