The use of technology across many aspects of our daily lives is often coupled with discussions around the loss of human connections.
But an RMIT researcher is leading the way in using technology to not only enhance human relationships but to also make them more enjoyable.
Dr Jussi Holopainen's focus is on the smart city trend in urban settlements and the way smart computing technologies play critical role in making a city more intelligent, interconnected and efficient.
Holopainen, from RMIT’s School of Media and Communication and based at RMIT Europe, looks at how experimental games and playful activities can be used as mechanisms “to challenge the focus of the smart cities approach on control, efficiency, and surveillance”.
“This approach enables a new level of physical and sensorial connections that blur the line between the virtual and real world,” he said.
Holopainen said the interactive experience of experimental games can relate to different aspects of a city, including the spatial, temporal or social dimensions.
“Different cities provides different possibilities as well as challenges,” he said.
The relevance of Holopainen’s work on playable cities is not just limited to mixing up traditional forms of gaming – it’s also about inviting adults to reconnect with games and the sense of playfulness.
But there’s also a deeper element to the use of game design in cities.
“The experience is not only recreational but it also reminds us about the need to reclaim ownership of public space and define our urban communities”.
Holopainen’s research is related to Playful Commons, a non-profit project exploring new licenses for playful use of public spaces, open to participation to organisations, researchers, film makers and residents.
In addition, Holopainen was recently selected as a Distinguished Scholar by the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA), an international association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena.
Story: Natalia Alessi
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