Future Mobile Home
The REPLICATE project is a European funded smart city project that explores different technological solutions to improve people’s homes and lives. Knowle West Media Centre and Bristol City Council commissioned Mufti Games and In Bristol Studios to create a mobile engagement tool to engage citizens in imagining future smart homes and raise awareness of how they can help us save energy.
We’d been tasked with engaging a wide, diverse audience with what appeared to be a quite complicated and far reaching project. We created a co-operative, multiplayer game based on ‘responsive’ dolls houses. The houses reacted to a person adding energy saving measures and when 3 people played together, the hub responded, rewarding players with lights and music.
We needed to find a hook that people could quickly connect with. We were aware that the ‘connected city’ could seem quite sci-fi frightening and the ‘hub’ as a concept was hard to understand. We decided to literally connect people (as players) to the hub. We thought about what was different when you connected and retrofitted, what changed- that's where the tamagotchi, living being idea came from. We thought alot about community- people talk to their neighbours, but houses don’t (usually) talk to each other- they’re not responsive. A smart home is responsive. It’s responding to the weather, the environment, a cities industry in fact the very cogs of the cities engines. Smart homes are also working together and REPLICATE is connecting houses not just on the same street, but across the city. By adding the different elements to your ‘dolls house’ you ‘bring the houses to life’ and ultimately ‘bring the city to life’. The game draws people in and is particularly interesting for younger people. This gives opportunity to talk to younger residents about the themes of the project and to talk to parents about getting involved. We could also add in an element of storytelling- who lives here? What's happening behind these walls? Bristol’s colourful terraces are iconic, so we drew on that but also kept an element of neutrality so that anyone could see their home in the game.
Mobile Future Home has toured to community events throughout the autumn of 2018 and will continue to engage citizens over the next 2 years. The idea and the work has also been showcased at Replicate, Smart City and other energy conferences and events across Europe.
“Mufti Games and In Bristol Studios worked with Bristol City Council and communities following the Bristol Approach to co-design and develop a mobile future home. They captured the feedback from our community engagement workshops brilliantly and created something that far exceeded our expectations. We have successfully used the future home to engage a wide range of people in Bristol at events and it will go on to become a community asset.”
Smart Homes Project Manager, Bristol City Council
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Credits: concept, design and build team Mufti Games and In Bristol Studios
Ally Burgess, Malcolm Hamilton, Becky Prior Kerry Russell, Alison Stone
Photo credit Knowle West Media Centre