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TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
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GLOW - Intelligent warmth with a touch of care

Maria Gil Falcon, Sarissa Bakker, Sophia Chou, Zhuoting Wang

“Reflecting the balance between humans and intelligent technology” 

“It knows your needs before you even notice.”

Envision the future world in 2050. Technology has advanced to a level where products possess an unprecedented level of autonomy and intelligence, thanks to advanced AI and IoT. People no longer need to switch on products, but products decide themselves. By letting them control their activation, we have allowed them to optimize their usage based on factors we might not even be aware of. In this future world, products are designed to be more than mere tools or objects. They are created to bring us the best care. However, is this the ideal world we want to live in? While products care for us, it is crucial to find the right balance of power between humans and technology.

GLOW is a smart and empathetic desktop heater designed within a futuristic context. GLOW behaves like a living being, activating itself when it senses your need for warmth. Its activation and settings rely entirely on data collection and an AI system, without requiring any user involvement. It emits an orange glow and softens its texture when warming up; conversely, it emits a blue light and becomes rigid as it cools down. To make the user reflect if GLOW is needed when it turns itself on, users are only able to turn off GLOW manually. Users will face the question whether they agree with the decisions the product makes or if they want to overrule the GLOW’s decision and turn it off.

"With all these advanced AI we see today, I see empathetic products becoming our future."

The concept of GLOW embodies a critical aspect of the "More than Human" perspective by addressing the balance of power between humans and technology in future habitats. In a world where advanced technology is increasingly integrated into our daily lives, GLOW's design encourages users to reflect on their relationship with technology actively. By using the orange/blue light and texture changes to indicate its status, GLOW prompts users to question whether they agree with its decision or wish to overrule the decision of the product. This emphasis on individual choice and autonomy aligns with the broader goal of creating future homes that sustain, not only human life, but also harmonious coexistence with nonhuman entities.