Actor Network Theory

Actor Network Theory establishes how things, objects and actors come to be how they are. ‘Actors’ can be human or non-human, material or immaterial. They are defined by their interaction with each other. This theory is used to demonstrate the joining together of technical and social explanations and describes the development of human-technology interaction. It is used as a framework to investigate the potential causes of failure in an interaction or circumstance, analysing it stage by stage.

Contributor: Sarah Heimeier, 2013
DOT POTIS

Smidesign successfully used ANT when developing a baby toilet called DotPotis. This was achieved through pinpointing the interaction of actors in the objects’ lifestyle. By doing so, Smidesign was able to see opportunities for their product & design it to have various functional uses. This allowed the object to change with the needs of the child who was able to continue to use it as they grew & developed.

Contributor: Sarah Heimeier, 2013
SMART ID

Smart ID Card (Thailand) where citizens had the availability of all government services on one card was intended to lead to more efficient service, reducing paperwork, documentation and copying. Despite the use of Actor Network Theory, the system faced difficulty in integration as separate organisations were responsible for various parts of the system. Due to this, it couldn’t be guaranteed that all actors would continue within the actor network system. As there is a requirement to balance interests, equality among actors and inclusion or exclusion from the actor network is important to be capable of maintaining the network. The inability of the actor's in the smart card network to interact & communicate meant that the system failed to work correctly.

Contributor: Sarah Heimeier, 2013