Is it possible that you are actually the object of the Internet of Things? This is what Iohanna Nicenboim provocatively asks in her recent MA project at the University of the Arts in Berlin. “Looking at current trends in technology, as well as the models by which digital services operate, I wanted to suggest that we might be becoming the objects of the future Internet of Things” Nicenboim explains. 

“As this technology has the potential to influence many aspects of our lives, it can also impact on the way we perceive objects, as well as ourselves.” In order to understand these changes, and imagine the new role we will play in these systems, Nicenboim created four fictional prototypes which show a dystopian near future. Her aim with these tools is to problematize the IoT and break with current discourses around it. As she states, the current discourses are extremely positive, preventing us from understanding its social consequences. “I think it is important to develop tools for addressing the Internet of Things in a critical way, as they could help us to identify and reflect on some of the challenges we might face in adopting this technology”.

Thus her intention is to trigger a critical reflection on what kind of Internet we want to adopt in Things and what could be the consequences of using the same models we use today for digital practices. In this way, the project allows us not only to understand some of the risks and challenges of the future, but also serves as an instrument to help us review the current models. “I believe that as we become Things in the IoT, we should discuss by which values we will relate to each other and rethink the platforms that allow or restrain these interactions.”


The correlation display looks for patterns in domestic activity and suggest opportunities.

The A/B toaster is trying to find the perfect toast for its users. Every day it will present them with two options (A/B). From these, the users have to choose which one they like the most, and thus the toaster learns from their preferences. The problem is that once the toaster finds the perfect toast, it starts charging them for it. Thus, this device is a comment on the models we use for digital services today, in which value is built on the basis of learning our preferences, and it is “sold” to us later on.



Iohanna Nicenboim (MA, Hons) is a designer and researcher, focused on creating meaningful interactions with connected devices. She works in projects which overlap design, science and data, showing a critical approach towards technology and its relation with society. She is a teacher at Node Center, part of the organisation team of Retune Conference and a reviewer for TEI16, the International conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction. She has received an Artis Grant for professional development and the Polonsky Best Design Prize for her project Objectology.


You can find more info at her website: