In the near future, lamp-posts – and other objects in public spaces – will be joining the internet of things, just like many objects in our homes have done already. Beyond the task of bringing light to the street, lamp-posts will also gain capabilities to sense and detect presence, movement, temperature, humidity, sound.

Praatpaal Prototype v2
Test subject interacting with a functional prototype of the talking lamp-post.

In this project, we explore the potential of conversational speech interfaces for artificial intelligence in public spaces: what if you could talk with a lamp-post that is connected to its surroundings, that collects super-local information, is part of a network, and can form a link to the municipality?

Our research will provide insights into how to design experiences with such talking lamp-posts that people appreciate. Factors we have determined to be of influence are, e.g., the lamp-post’s location, its identity, its tone of voice, the topic and the usefulness of its local knowledge.

The project delivers a series of prototypes, ranging from simulations to a fully functional talking lamp-post that is tested in city neighbourhoods.

Talking Lamp-posts