CASE STUDY

Nelson Notes

Facilitating a sense of connection and overcoming a feeling of isolation with distant friends through a playful IoT device.

Teammate

- Miaoqiong Huang

Role

- Designer and Creative Technologist

Tools

- ESP32, Python, Adafruit.io (cloud services), Premiere Pro and Photoshop

BRIEF

We were asked to create devices that sense, act and serve as a bridge between two people living in different contexts.

IMPACT

The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to find unique ways to feel a sense of companionship and connection. Online study groups, beyond active assistance with projects, served as one of those strategies people utilized for emotional support and connection with others across vast physical distances.

METHOD

During the research phase of the project, we found that online study groups, facilitated by Zoom, served as a key form of companionship and emotional comfort for people during the COVID-19 pandemic. To build a sense of connection between the two users, the symbol of a light was utilized, indicating to each user whether or not the other user is present. Also, the light signals to each user that the other might be willing to engage in an interactive game of Simon Says.  

One of the connected devices and user interaction
Industrial design sketch
The internal components of the device

OVERVIEW

The linkage of two devices, one in Los Angeles, CA and the other in Shanghai, CHN, via a cloud-based environment, to facilitate a sense of connection and overcome a feeling of isolation. The interaction design is based on the interactive game Simon Says and provides a fun and playful way for two people to maintain a remote relationship.

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