Prof. Paul Coulton

Coulton
Chair of Speculative and Game Design
Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Game Design, Design as Rhetoric, Research through Design, Design Futures, Play, Toys
p [dot] coulton [at] lancaster [dot] ac [dot] uk

My research can more generally considered as Speculative Design. Speculative Design combines real and/or hypothetical extrapolations of the development of emerging technologies with a consideration of the cultural landscape into which they may be deployed. This activity is embodied as ‘research through design’ and, in particular, to the design of speculative physical/digital interactive games, playful experiences, and artefacts. Having previously been a member of Lancaster’s School of Computing elements of my research has been conducted using an, 'situated' evaluation methodology in that I have utilised 'app stores' and social networks as an experimental platforms. This element of my work has led to international recognition by industry as well as academia in that I was selected as one of 50 most talented mobile developers worldwide from a community of over 2 million to be a founding Nokia Champion and the first academic invited to speak at the Game Developers Conference. Increasingly, my work encompasses the non-entertainment use a particular practice of Speculative Design which is Design Fiction as a way of exploring futures for areas such as the Internet of Things and Machine Learning. Design Fictions are collections of artefacts, that, when viewed together build a fictional world. The artificially built world is a prototyping platform for the very designs that define it, meanwhile those designs reciprocate in kind and prototype the world.

“Play is the highest form of research.” - Albert Einstein

Updates and Outcomes

Wicked Persuasion: A Designerly Approach

OutcomeConference Paper

Persuasive computing has tended to be applied toward the promotion of minor behavior change in the direction of easily understood and uncontroversial goals. Such approaches may not make sense, however, when designing for so called ‘wicked problems’. We argue that while wicked...More information

Augmented Reality Art

Augmented Reality Art

Using augmented reality to curate your own art exhibitions

The application we have designed for the NESTA R&D fund project is now live on the Google App store and will work across a range of devices. The app uses Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR) to allow people to digitally curate their own...Read full update

Television in the Internet of Things

Television in the Internet of Things

How will traditional media such as television and radio adapt as they become part of a larger Internet of Things.

I had the great pleasure of spending last term on sabbatical within the BBC R&D lab at MediaCityUK to effectively engage in some knowledge exchange between my research...Read full update

Designing mobile and ubiquitous games and playful interactions

OutcomeBook Chapter

Marshall McLuhan famously said in his 1964 book The Medium is the Message, We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us. In a relatively short time, video games have become a major feature of our cultural landscape that extend beyond the games themselves such that...More information

How to Win in the Age of Now?

How to Win in the Age of Now?

An Inspirational Masterclass delivered by the Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts on Monday 10th of February.

The event attracted many creative and digital companies looking to take their business to the next level, and become high-growth creative leaders loved by their...Read full update

Initial User Experience Testing for Mobile Augmented Reality App

Initial User Experience Testing for Mobile Augmented Reality App

Today we tested the current version of the app with some of the volunteers from Live at LICA to ascertain how usable and understandable it was. The test was successful in that we got useful suggestions for improvements to guide users understanding on first use but everyone found that once...Read full update

scARecrow Time Machine available on the App Store

scARecrow Time Machine available on the App Store

Use this Augmented Reality application to find scarecrows hidden in both space and time throughout your local environment. These scarecrows are from the annual scarecrow festival held in the village of Wray in Lancashire in the UK.

The emergence of the Internet and networked media has opened...Read full update

ScareBot goes to Wray Scarecrow Festival

ScareBot goes to Wray Scarecrow Festival

ScareBot unveiled at the 2013 Wray Scarecrow Festival

During the May bank holiday weekend our design and development of ScareBot was revealed at the 2013 Wray Scarecrow Festival. Standing nearly 2.5 meters tall ScareBot is an interactive digital scarecrow designed with the help of the children...Read full update

ScareBot takes shape

ScareBot takes shape

Down in the lab scarebot rises from the slab!

Having spent Easter laser cutting the components for scarebot its great to see it taking shape from the workbench. The next stage will be wiring up the Android tablet, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino to power all the interactive components. ...Read full update

ScareBot construction

ScareBot construction

Fabrication of main digital scarecrow parts done!

Over Easter the main construction and fabrication of the digital scarecrow (scarebot) made significant progress with all the major body parts laser cut and assembled. The next stage will be to assemble and acrylic weld the body before adding...Read full update

Local Trade-Local Wealth NFC cards

Local Trade-Local Wealth NFC cards

Local Trade – Local Wealth NFC cards.

Today we took delivery of the first batch of Catalyst project Local Trade – Local Wealth NFC cards. These will enable customers to register their trades with members of ESTA in Lancaster during the system alpha trials that will commence shortly. The...Read full update

Ubicomp'12 paper

Paper accepted for Ubicomp'12

Paper titled ' Democratizing ubiquitous computing – a right for locality', based on Sebastian's Phd research has been accepted for the 14th ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing to be held from September 5-8, 2012 in  Pittsburgh,...Read full update

Living Room of the Future

Articleby Paul Coulton, Adrian Gradinar
Living Room of the Future

As part of our Objects of Immersion project we have created an experiential future in the form of a Living Room. This experience highlights the potential of Object Based Media (OBM) in conjunction with data objects and physical objects in forming new immersive experiences. Further, it highlights the increasing importance of understanding and managing the increasing amounts of data generated about ourselves during our everday lives. ...Read full article

Little Book of Design Fiction for the Internet of Things

Articleby Paul Coulton, Joe Lindley, Rachel Cooper
Little Book of Design Fiction for the Internet of Things

As output of our work relating to Adoption and Acceptability and the House Training the Internet of Things for the PETRAS Cybersecurity for the Internet of Things Research Hub we have created a guide for designers and developers of IoT products and services who may wish to use Design Fiction as part of their design processs. In this little book we explain: ...Read full article

Research through Design Article in Design Issues

Articleby Paul Coulton
Research through Design Article in Design Issues

Published in Design Issues is our (Liz Edwards, myself, Andy Darby, Mike Chiasson) atest paper presenting various digital-nature artifacts that were designed to support visitor engagement with nature in a public garden environment. These artifacts are hybridsas they combinedigital and physical characteristics within them. ...Read full article

PhD Studentships related to Design for the Internet of Things

Articleby Paul Coulton
PhD Studentships related to Design for the Internet of Things

We are pleased to offer two funded PhD studentships to work in conjunction within Imagination academics in two areas related to Design in the Internet of Things. These two posts provide not only the opportunity to work with leading design academics but in conjunction with the recently established UK Cyber Security Research Hub for the internet of things which includes nine of the country’s leading universities (PETRAS). PhD Design Fiction for The...Read full article

Digital Installations in Hawkshead Church

Articleby Paul Coulton

As part of our Creating and exploring Digital Empathy project we have recently installed a system at St Michael’s and All Angels in Hawkshead, which allows people to type in prayers that are then projected onto the church’s interior wall. These prayers are then shared in a similar way with St Peter De Beauvoir Town Church in Hackney. The Diocese of Carlisle have created their own fil shown below to highlight the...Read full article

NEW Lecturer post in Data Prototyping and Visualisation

Articleby Paul Coulton, Martyn Evans

As part of Lancaster University’s 50th Anniversary Lectureships Scheme to appointment of 50 early career academics we are seeking candidates for a new lectureship in Data Prototyping and Visualisation. ...Read full article

You can find a list of Paul Coulton's publications on the Lancaster University research pages.

Key Projects

Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy How do we unlock the digital communication of empathy
FictionWareFictionWare FictionWare For all your future Design Fiction needs!
Creative ExchangeCreative Exchange Creative Exchange Creating New Contexts for Growth in the Experience Economy