The power of play: Design lessons for increasing the lifespan of outdated computers

Derek Lomas, Anuj Kumar, Kishan Patel, Dixie Ching, Meera Lakshmanan, Matthew Kam, Jodi L. Forlizzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

One consequence of rapid advances in computer technology is the obsolescence of hundreds of millions of computers each year. This paper explores strategies for increasing the reuse of outdated computers through an investigation of an 8-bit home computer that is still popular in developing countries. We observed the use of the computers in 16 households in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, India in order to gain insight into the contextual factors that support the continued popularity of the device. While most computers become obsolete in less than a decade, this 30-year-old computer technology remains useful because it provides exciting, multi-user family entertainment. While having minimal processing power and virtually no connectivity, the 8-bit computer supports input and output channels that are especially suited for co-located social game play. In contrast, PCs are primarily designed for individual use. Therefore, we offer low-cost design recommendations that would enable outdated PCs to support greater shared use and increased utility within the constrained material context of low-income households. These simple interventions, if adopted by computer refurbishment industries, have the potential to significantly extend the useful lifespan of PCs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2013
Subtitle of host publicationChanging Perspectives, Conference Proceedings - The 31st Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Pages2735-2744
Number of pages10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2013
Event31st Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Changing Perspectives, CHI 2013 - Paris, France
Duration: 27 Apr 20132 May 2013

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference31st Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Changing Perspectives, CHI 2013
CountryFrance
CityParis
Period27/04/132/05/13

Keywords

  • Abandonware
  • Ethnography
  • Games
  • HCI4D
  • ICT4D
  • Obsolescence
  • Social computing
  • Sustainability

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