Digital Culture and Media Lab (Decimal Lab)

Ontario Tech University (University of Ontario Institute of Technology), Oshawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Research on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and embodied technologies, digital culture, digital humanities, digital archiving, and futurism

Areas of expertise

The Digital Culture and Media Lab (Decimal) researches human-computer interaction (HCI) platforms and inventions, the rhetoric that surrounds them, and how they influence our daily lives, culture, and future, including their vast social and ethical implications.

Decimal’s current work centres on our open, web-based, cultural analytics research repository called “The Fabric of Digital Life.” Fabric uses digital archiving and metadata to track the emergence of embodied technologies - such as smartwatches, augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces, robotics, and artificial intelligence - by collecting and contextualizing media such as concept videos, corporate advertising, news articles, government publications, and popular film clips. Curated collections explore topics such as communication, health, digital telepathy, transhumanism, aging, and cultural heritage.

Research services

In connection with the Digital Life Institute, Decimal Lab has been growing an international community of partners to produce research publications, conference presentations, and curated collections. We work with researchers, curators, artists, educators, or students to create archival collections of web-based digital artifacts that explore the connections between technology and culture. This includes training on our archival interface and metadata development.

Some of our recent collaborative projects include:

Building Digital Literacy: An ongoing multi-phased project where Technical Communication researchers from across several universities, including The University of Minnesota and Texas Tech University, have used Fabric as a tool to help students learn digital literacy skills by analysing content, as well as curating and contributing to thematic collections.

The Wearable Past: A two-year project with the Ingenium Canada Science and Technology Museum that curated, digitized, and integrated physical artifacts from a larger museum exhibit into a digital archive collection.

Aging and Digital Technology: Several different multi-institutional projects aim to explore how wearable and mobile technologies, smart homes, digital assistants, and social robots track, quantify, and shape the lives of seniors. This research investigates the social, ethical, and legal implications of these technologies, including topics such as privacy and personal data protection, social interaction and loneliness, and ageism.

Human-Centred Design for Augmented Reality: This project developed and explored a set of heuristics related to augmented reality that could be used by designers, developers, usability experts, and professional communicators.

Speaker Series: Decimal organized and hosted a series of public academic talks from researchers that explored a range of current technocultural questions.

Sectors of application
  • Arts and cultural industries
  • Education
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Policy and governance
CollectiveAccessCollectiveAccess is an open-source content management software from Whirl-i-Gig which is used to catalogue museum and archival collections
  • University of Minnesota
  • Texas Tech University
  • Temple University
  • Trent University
  • Ingenium Canada – Canada Science and Technology Museum