Objects with intent: Designing Everyday Things as Collaborative Partners

Marco Rozendaal, Boudewijn Boon, Victor Kaptelinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


In HCI there is an increasing trend to approach computing artifacts as agents. In this article, we make a case for "Objects with Intent" (OwI's) as an emerging type of agents that take advantage of the meaning of everyday things as the site for their intelligence and agency. After reviewing relevant existing research in HCI and related fields, we demonstrate how OwI's provide a new perspective on human-agent interaction. We then elaborate on how the notion of OwI's is informed by Dennett's theory of intentionality and Leontiev's Activity Theory. Thereafter, we illustrate the application of OwI's through the design case of Fizzy, a robotic ball used to stimulate hospitalized children to engage in physical play. We end by discussing the nature and merit of OwI's and reflecting more broadly on the challenges involved in designing OwI's.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Pages (from-to)26:1-26:30
Number of pages30
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Activity theory
  • Interaction design
  • Objects with intent
  • Smart objects


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