SALLY CLOKE | PhD | THE ROVA PROJECT

THE ROVA PROJECT

In this PhD project, Sally Cloke is designing a robot vacuum cleaner that is motivated by gratitude. Meet ROVA: the Ritually Optimised Vacuum Assistant. Based on findings from psychological research into human relationships, each ROVA performs more efficiently when thanked in ways that suit its individual preferences.

ROVA is not a “real” product but an example of “speculative design” – a method of making possible futures more concrete through designed artefacts in order to provoke debate and discussion. The next stage of Sally’s research involves the creation of an exhibition of ROVA prototypes and supporting materials with which visitors can interact while exploring the role of gratitude in their own lives.

Sally’s PhD investigates whether thankfulness can help enable people recognise the important role that our things play in our lives. Could expressing care for our household belongings have implications for designing consumer goods that foster stronger emotional attachment? Could saying “thank you” help combat our throwaway culture and promote sustainability?

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