Date of Award

8-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Planning, Design, and the Built Environment

Advisor

Green, Keith E.

Committee Member

Walker , Ian D.

Committee Member

Lauria , Mickey

Committee Member

Laurence , Peter

Abstract

ABSTRACT
Conventional monuments are concrete manifestations of memories without the capacity to reflect individual interpretations of history. In an increasingly digital society, however, there is a need for configurable monuments reflecting our contemporary, open and complex community. “Monumental-IT” reflects the dynamic and inclusive character of our time. Rather than static, Monumental-IT is a dynamic, robotic, intelligent environment reconfigured or “retuned” by citizens and by historical information accumulating on the World Wide Web. This information is periodically “coded,” altering the multi-sensorial physical-digital “Robotic-Wiki” components of Monumental-IT. Monumental-IT is designed to embody a new form of human-robotic interaction evolving from the monument typology.
This research is a response to three questions: What is the monument for a world that is increasingly digital and 'free'?; How can intelligent systems 'creatively' reconcile current conceptualizations of history with monument‐making?; and, What role can intelligent systems and Human Centered Computing (HCC) play in creating significant, meaningful, physical, urban places for collective memories?.
This research involves designing, prototyping, and empirically evaluating Monumental-IT. The research employs a mixed-methodological research design which includes: quasi-experimental design, usability, heuristic evaluations, and cognitive walkthroughs as its research methods; and multivariate statistics to validate significance and usability with real users and experts in the domain fields of 'architectural-robotics' and human factors psychology.
Results strongly suggest that the four distinct configurations of the robotic, multi-sensorial Monumental-IT evoke four distinct emotions in users. As well, users interacting with the Monumental-IT prototype evaluate the design as strongly aiding their recollection of human events (here, the history of slavery in the testbed, Charleston, South Carolina, USA). Finally, users overwhelmingly evaluated the Monumental-IT design to be more apt for our increasingly digital society than conventional monument design.
Key contributions are: the identification of metrics for evaluating complex digital-physical environments; the advancement of human-robotic interaction via environmental-scaled robotics and multi-sensorial features (colors, sounds and motions); and, the conceptualization of the monument as a cybernetic system.

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