AI-driven conversational agents in public spaces

Date & Time

Wednesday, June 30 | 16:30-17:30 CEST, 10:30-11:30 EDT, 00:30-01:30 AEST
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In a smart city development project, the municipality of The Hague intends to realize a smart city infrastructure in the Scheveningen district by equipping lampposts in the area with sensors and network connectivity. Following a user-centric process, we investigated potential use cases of the infrastructure. We explored the potential of distributed conversational speech interfaces in lampposts.

We used Research through Design (RtD) as a method to conduct our research. RtD is a form of action-driven research that generates knowledge by creating and evaluating designs and prototypes. We evaluated our concept by building a series of three prototypes that allowed test subjects (e.g. local citizens) to experience an engaging interaction that helped them envision potential use cases and reflect on possible social aspects and consequences of the experience.

We also explored the opportunities and limitations of an AI -driven speech interface (Google Speech Software and Dialog Flow) that was needed to enable the dialog with our prototype. Realizing a fully functional prototype with readily available hardware components was an important part of our research and design process. 

Experimenting with experiential prototypes has given a broad insight not only into the usefulness of a conversational agent in public spaces but especially into the diversity and nuance in public acceptance.

In our session we will give a live demonstration of the current prototype of our device. We will show the functionality, explain the hardware and software, and give an impression of our design process.


Organized by The Hague University


More information & Contact

Jos van Leeuwen        (
Arnold Jan Quanjer    (
Alexander Roidl          (

Arnold Jan Quanjer

Arnold Jan Quanjer

MSc in Media Technology from the University of Leiden and has extensive experience as a UX designer in a commercial and governmental setting. He works as a lecturer and researcher at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Jos van Leeuwen

Jos van Leeuwen

Professor of Civic Technology since May 2019. In the ‘90s he studied Building Information Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology. Two important subjects in his research are online deliberation and dialogues through speech interfaces in public spaces.

Alexander Roidl

Alexander Roidl

MFA Alexander Roidl is a designer and media researcher, with a background in graphic and interaction design, fine art and programming. His research investigates the diverse implications of human-computer interaction with a focus on the creative use of software.