SCOT a bike

Due: February 12th by 11pm

Using what you’ve learned about the Social Construction of Technology as a theory of technological change, make a meaningful alteration to a bicycle that shows SCOT at work—with you and your group as the “relevant social group” of users making a technological change, and creating a new technology that’s more appropriate to your needs and interests.

Document your process and outcomes in writing and also do a short (no more than 5 minute) video in which you explain the ultimate success or failure of your modification—in other words, did SCOT work in your case? Did you come up with a new, socially-constructed technology that’s attuned to the needs of a certain group of users? Who are those users and how do they differ from others? What else does your modification need to be successful and potentially become widespread?

Write a short collective essay of no more than 500 words (one essay per group) that you will post as a comment on this post. At the end of the essay, put a link to your video, which should be hosted as a public video on YouTube. Make sure that the video tells us something more than the essay—use the format of the video to explain things visually and kinetically in ways that might not be possible to do in text. For instance, your video might show us your modification without using words, or might include diagram overlays of your invention if you are unable to actually fabricate the parts for it.

In addition to coming up with some sort of (hopefully ingenious) modification, your goal in this assignment is to better understand SCOT—how it works, and when the theory is and isn’t applicable—through doing a hands-on task. In your essay, explain the thought processes behind your experiments with SCOT, how this changes your understanding of what we’ve talked about in class, and what you learn along the way.

Be sure to cite your sources—remember that you need to give credit where credit is due for ideas as well as words. You may use any major citation format you wish (MLA, Chicago, etc.) as long as you are consistent throughout.



  1. Bicycle theft in the urban setting is an ever-present issue, causing bicycle commuters worry in all major cities. Chicago’s bicycle commuting population only represents 1.3% of the city’s whole commuter population. The staggering amount of reports of bicycle theft is what our idea attempts to address.
    To address this issue we thought, what increases the chance of bicycle theft? How can we address that part of the problem? User error and inadequate locking devices. User error stems from using the lock on the correct part of the bike, locking it securely, and locking it to something suitable for keeping the bicycle grounded. Cyclists have to be meticulous and very aware of where they are when leaving their bicycle. Inadequate locking devices only increases this issue. Chain locks are easily cut through and the much safer U-lock can be expensive and cumbersome.
    Our idea, the smart bike, would significantly decrease the occurrences of bicycle theft. With an auto-lock feature, allowing the bicycle to be left, ideally anywhere and everywhere the cyclist goes, and an easily traceable GPS tracking in the frame, making recovery much easier, will give all urban cyclists much more ease of mind. Even though these adjustments were designed and attuned for the urban cyclist, in actuality, they can be applied rather globally. In any case, the urban cyclists are still at far more risk of losing a bicycle and facing the consequential issues, financial or otherwise, that result.
    In order for our modifications to actually be implemented, a bicycle manufacturer would need to begin production by way of purchasing the auto-locking sensors and the GPS locators, and integrate them into the frame of the bicycles. Understandably, sales prices would undergo a significant increase, but the benefit will redefine the industry standard. Once the bicycles are secured, the possibility of theft should drop incredibly. Cyclists no longer have to bother themselves with being meticulous in the locking process or being able to jump through hoops at a chance of recovering their expensive bicycles.
    To make the smart bikes more widespread, implementation would include tiered purchasing options. Higher-end bicycles with more features, possibly lights, signals, screens, and even the possibility of customization, letting users choose their features and paying for those features as add ons. Medium-cost bicycles with some additional features, like a horn. And finally, the basic model with only the basic features. All models would include the anti-theft features, it’s just a matter of scaling to the consumers’ wants, but more importantly their needs.
    Actually using SCOT has made us understand the actual process in a different, much more detailed way. With technology surrounding us, it seem that many products in the marketplace can be altered, redesigned, or even put together to benefit the consumer. And that is what SCOT is really all about, creating better products for the consumer.

    Link to video:

  2. Social Construction of Technology is a theory that relevant social groups are agents of technological change and they help to shape the technological artifacts and systems1. Based on our study of this theory, we as relevant social group of users intend to socially construct a part of a vintage bike.
    A problem that arose is that because the bike frame is too high in relationship to the bike seat. Every time we need to momentarily stop, we must stand on the pedal and fall sideways to catch ourselves so that the frame won’t hurt our lower body. Since it is a vintage bike, we would like to make a simple and efficient addition to it instead of changing its original structure and appearance. Based on the problem, we defined our design agenda as creating an efficient bike addition kit for certain users who have trouble in adapting to the high position of the bike seat but at the same time, not willing to change the frame structure.
    In our design process, we first identified the problem as only being present when stopping on the bike not so much when getting off the bike and this gave us an initiative to create some kinds of balance for momentary stops like at stop signs or red lights. Next, we decided that for it to work effectively and not obstruct our bike rides in anyway, it would be proper to attach the stand onto the center connection of the front wheel, this way the stand would stay on a part of the bike that is static but also having the same dimensions of the wheel for when placed on the ground. This would allow for us to use our feet to kick it down to give us that balance on a part of the bike we can already control. For retracting the stand back to its original position, we designed a pulling lever at the handle since the front wheel and the handle are always static to each other. For this modification to be widespread, we need to standardize the parts into one component according to the standardization of the bikes, so that this kit is highly compatible and economic.
    This design process strengthened our understanding that the variety of social construction is the result of the different interpretations among all the relevant social groups. For instance, our group of users may view their bike as something valuable, which is different from other users who merely see them as tools and are fine with altering their structure and appearance. These different interpretations determine whether we socially construct the bike by designing additions of new features or alterations of its existing features, which would lead to totally different results.

    1 Pinch, Trevor J. P. 765

    SCOT a Bike: Anti BallBuster

  3. The use of bike technology has become a universal habit whether it’s for leisure, sport or merely transportation. The technology is so concrete, it’s not an easy task to adapt it; however, as leisure and transportation users, we found one more way our summer fun could be more efficient. By slightly modifying the frame of a bike, it can become multifunctional as both transportation and activities for a fun day at the park or beach.

    For many college students and young adults in the city, their bike is their only personal transportation which causes hassles while moving, bringing home groceries, or even transporting sporting goods. To provide a solution to one of these problems, we rethought each piece of the bike frame in terms of classic lawn games. In typical Illinois fashion, we chose to play around with “Bags” or “Cornhole”. Just by taking a piece of material, punching a hole in it and fitting it across the frame then leaning the bike on its pedal, you can create a Cornhole board that’s affordable and efficient for transportation. The only further effort required by the user is transporting the sand bags in a backpack or basket after a long day of school or work. This may begin by catering to a small “relevant social group” (Pinch and Kline, 1996), but even if producing it as a part of the bike doesn’t succeed, it could branch out into a large side business. Just as companies created farming kits for Ford’s Model T (Pinch and Kline, 1996), one could produce an abundance of unique game attachments for the bike. Plus, they could be used anywhere there’s enough space and a reason to celebrate!

    In discovering a quirky way to modify a classic technology, we reflected a lot on how conclusive the tech had become. Although many social groups have reused the original idea to create a myriad of sports and millions of bike models, none had given it a use far from the intended rider and vehicle relationship. We really had to test the idea of “interpretive flexibility” (Pinch and Kline, 1996) to see if a bike could even be used for something different at all! In the end, by thinking outside the box and considering our own social group we decided to mold the technology for our entertainment. While this may not be as needed as say changing the mobility of wheelchairs (Woods and Watson, 2004) for example, but it helped us understand how important SCOT could be in development of more socially binding technologies.

    Video link:

  4. Christopher Morcom, Ismael Granillo, & Benjamin Cohen
    Marie Hicks
    HUM 354
    12 February 2017

    Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) worked with our bike because there are various users who could benefit from our technology. Our technology caters to the needs of users who feel unsafe while riding a bicycle despite using proper safety gear. Our technology may be marketable to those who already feel safe, as they may require emergency assistance and not have access to call for it.

    Our new bicycle technology is attuned to the needs of individuals who enjoy exploring the outdoors on their bicycle. Our technology improves one’s safety in harsh terrain or isolated locations. This is accomplished by identifying users’ locations and calling for help in an emergency. One modification includes a GPS tracker on the user’s bicycle which connects to their smartphone. Also, in the event a user loses their bicycle, or cannot be found for any reason, with a press of a button, the bicycle would activate an alarm, similar to that of an ambulance, to trace its location.

    The intended users for our SCOT technology people who enjoy bicycling in isolated or harsh terrain without regular patrol (like mountain biomes). These users’ recreational way of biking involves traversing more treacherous terrain than normal. A bicyclist in an urban or rural environment will not run into as many issues as someone who uses it in extreme conditions. This does not mean that our technology may not be incorporated into these environments. A user can still run into dangerous situations and have a need for our technology.

    For our technology to become successful widespread, it would have to become more mass-marketable. One way for this to happen to reap economies of scale to lower any potential pricing points, and using various business strategies with other companies to create diversity in a customer base.

    When riding in treacherous terrain, there are many times when one may encounter different dangers which our technology makes infinitesimal. People may get stranded or hurt by running into unexpected situations and the user may not have a way to call for help. This is where our technology would come in handy allowing a user to call for assistance through the simple press of a button on their bike, smartphone application, or a keychain. Our modifications work to make would-be fatal situations less dire, by giving the user an alternative way to help themselves in an emergency. In essence, this would allow the user to feel more secure when traversing these dangerous terrains.


    Works Cited:
    “MUKLUK.” Salsa. Salsa Cycles, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2017. .

  5. PUMP-IT-BIKE by Javier Martinez, Julie Kipta-Skutnik, Rodrigo Lopez
    As an IIT student who commutes on the unforgiving roads of Chicago can cause bike tires to wear out and become flat on the way to school. Our group as students are occupied with deadlines and projects to meet, that fixing a flat tire should be done with time efficiency. However, the average gas station is about 1.6 miles away (Maps, Google). Even bringing along a pump would cause too much of a clutter on the bike. In order to fix the dilemma, the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) gave us the power to use interpretive flexibility and modify the bike to fix our needs.

    SCOT, refers to a theory about how a variety of social factors and forces shape technological development, technological change, and the meanings associated with technology ( This means that the technology presented is a bike and it affects anyone who interacts with it. We focus on IIT commuter students as the relevant social group for our modificated bicycle. Focusing on commuters affects them more due to the average bicycle commute is 7.5 miles each way and takes 30.7 minutes ( This means that on campus students would not need them unless they travel far. In order for this to become more widespread, the improvements will be targeted on commuter students on treacherous roads. SCOT gives us the power to use a two black boxes. The end result is a bike that has a built in pump and a bike tire patch kit.

    Pump-It-Bike is now born. This bike includes all the latest updates and configurations! This type of bicycle will fix all those flat tire needs.

    The pump is within the bike seat. The pressure comes from “pumping” the bicycle seat, up and down motion, as a normal pump would be used. This stance also helps those who have knee problems and lower back issues. No more bending over or kneeling for inflating a tire.

    There is an instruction manual that will explain on how to use both the built in pump and the bike tire patch kit.

    No pothole or flat tire will hold you back from your destination. This bicycle will increase your amount of travel mileage since there’s no worry for flat tires or and avoid bulky accessories just to fix the tire.

    PUMP-IT-BIKE Youtube link:

  6. S.C.O.T. Bike Project
    James Tarala & Carsten Wahl
    Prof: Hicks
    Spring 2017

    When we were contemplating a bike design meets the needs of us as users due

    to a SCOT theory, we evaluated the simple process of using a bike and determined that

    the storage and lock up phase is one in which a lot of issues arise. Especially for users

    who live in confined spaces such as a shared apartment with multiple roommates,

    finding a place to store and lock up their bike can often be a burdensome task. The

    main burden for locking up your bike is having to carry your lock and key with you

    everywhere you go, with the risk of losing it. What if the bike itself is the lock?

    As a result of this vision, we were able to challenge the conventional means of

    safety and storage by considering ways in which the product can be manipulated and

    distorted into a more efficient use of space as well be used as its own lock. The Idea of

    this futuristic design was then born. Our users are generally those who lack storage

    space, as well as the effort/ability to carry around extra keys and locks, but we also

    considered the people that we may not be focused on, people who have adequate

    storage space, as well as the complacency to carry around their own lock, and not lose

    their key, but with the hopes that they might find the idea exceptional enough to

    implement in their own daily lives.

    The investigation of the theory of SCOT helped our group consider the effects on

    us and the outcome of the “black box” reference that we have been discussing in class.

    In class, we also discussed the various steps involved in Social Construction Of

    Technology including rejection, adoption, interpretation, and closure. Also, thinking into

    the idea of class topics like technological momentum, our design would give the need to

    design and produce all sorts of new clamps that are specifically for our socially

    constructed bikes.

    Even with a well-executed design-build typology, we understand the underlying

    consumer market. This means that with this design the consumer would have to be

    convinced, without a doubt, that this will better every day life. Furthermore, there is a

    need to constrain the amount of parts to be created so that the price and specs of the

    bike may be relatively simple and cheap, as well as giving an overall pleasing aesthetic

    to the design. With the new understanding of Social Construction Of Technology, we

    can now apply this knowledge to further class discussions of the emergence of topics

    and all the different technologies that have come from this theory. We were able to

    design a bike that was design with the intent of a social problem that the members of

    this group had, giving us a simpler life.

  7. Social Construction of Technology or SCOT can be defined as the user having an influence on technology. Rather than representing every human in existence, the end user can be divided into relevant social groups. The 3 people that make up this group for the SCOT a bike assignment are male college students attending Illinois Institute of Technology. In addition to this, all of us commute to school, be it by train, bus, or car. Simply put, the relevant social group in this case are commuting college students attending school in Chicago.

    A bicycle is a 2-wheel mode of transportation that has existed way before any of us were born. One might think that there is nothing more that can be done to a bicycle, but this device can still be attuned to the needs of this social group. This can be done by adding a cup holder capable of heating your drinks in between the handlebars of the bike. When it comes to normal bikes, there are cup holders in between the pedals that the rider can use to hold their liquids so they are not dehydrated. However, dehydration is not really a problem since we are not racing in a marathon. One might ask, why not just use the normal cup holder? Why does it have to be in between the handle bars and be able to heat your drink? The answer is quite simple: “It is too cold.” Chicago is known as “The Windy City” and this is not an exaggeration. The temperature might seem normal to an outsider but the wind chill makes the cold a formidable enemy. Rather than reaching down for a cold drink while it is cold out, while rushing to your destination, it would make sense for the drink to be hot. Also, as a college student, we need our warm caffeine especially during the winter time. The cold acts as an adversary and strives to make our hot drinks as cold as possible. You can have a piping hot coffee when you leave, to having an iced coffee by the time you get to your first class. This modification aims to fix this by modifying the bike so that the drink is hot no matter how cold it is, we are attuning to our needs as the social group.

    Obviously, the modification of adding a heating cup holder does not attune to the needs of everyone. Some social groups might want an easy way to cool down their drinks. Others may see it as a hassle to put the holder in a place that they are not accustomed to. Lastly, some might fear that they can burn and hurt themselves. Therefore, SCOT and relevant social groups of users go hand-in-hand. Our social group consists of male college students that just want to survive the brutal winters of Chicago while rushing from one class to another or arrive at a bus stop or train station on time. This modification is based on only this social group.

    Video link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *