The Memory Blocks

Parent-Child Intimacy, HCI4D | 2010 - 2011

The Memory Blocks is a design concept that attempts to respond to the affective needs of Ecuadorian left-behind children of migration and their practices when trying to overcome distance. Heavily grounded in HCI user research on Ecuadorian children, the Memory Blocks aims to harness the human practice of collecting, treasuring and sharing memories to tell a story. Through the Memory Blocks, children can collect everyday memories (images, text or audio), transfer memories to the blocks and arrange the blocks together to tell a story. Children can transfer the story to a card they can decorate and send to their parents. When parents receive the story, they face the challenge to put the story together using their own set of blocks.

The Weather Chime

Emotional Design, Reflective Design | Spr 11

The Weather Chime is a design probe that attempts to explore technology support for non-explicit emotional interactions. Through a digital remediation of an everyday artifact, the Weather Chime intends to allow its owner to create and express his/her own meaning through warmth, playfulness and poeticism while eliciting thoughts and emotions about his/her connection with home.

Instead of being moved by the wind at its current location, the Weather Chime is moved by the weather changes in its owner’s homeland. The colors of every piece of the Weather Chime also change according to the weather. A sunny day will make its pieces appear in bright warm colors. A rainy day will make them appear in more fresh, blue or gray colors. The sounds the chime generates are also a distorted reflection of the sounds the owner would usually listen when being at home.

Family Bouquet

Distributed Family, Emotional Design | Fall 09

The Family Bouquet is a concept that seeks to reinforce family members’ sense of belonging and identity through non-explicit ambient interactions. The concept idea is for each family member to have a family bouquet in his/her household representing the owner's’ family. Through simple, non-explicit gestures, each flower entices the owner to reflect on their family’s activities and on their relationship with each family member: a flower drifting away from the center of the bouquet indicates a family member has left his/her house, a flower that closes up represents a family member the bouquet’s owner has lost communication with. By having flowers react to the remote touch of family members, the concept attempts to give family members the opportunity to define the meaning of their interactions with each other.

Museum Exhibit

Experience Design, Social Interaction | Spr 10

Strongly based on user experience research, Museum Exhibit is an interactive museum exhibit designed to immerse visitors into a collaborative exploration of the the effect of bacteria inside the human body. The exhibit allows visitors to perform the role of a bacterium or an antibody and walk to act upon their role: visitors with the bacteria rol spread bacteria on the floor and kill red blood cells. Visitors with the antibody’s role spread antibody’s on the floor, killing bacteria next to them. Initial evaluation of the concept, using the Wizard of Oz technique, showed the exhibit has strong potential to elicit different interpretations and encourage social interaction.

The Sound Cup

Everyday Computing, Reflective Design | Spr 11

As humans, we have a tendency to prefer physical interaction with the objects and elements that surround us. Sadly, there are elements of our daily life that we cannot touch or see like sound. The Sound cup is a design proposal that seeks to enable us to interact with sound in a more tangible/visible way. Sound can be poured into the cup and trapped in the cup; it can also “evaporate” out of the cup, and react to the cup's movements (shaking or tilting). Every new sound poured into the cup mixes with the sound already there. In the cup, sound is represented through color: when sound is being poured into the cup, the cup changes its color to blue; when the cup is full of sound, the color inside changes to red.

Umbrellergy

Sustainability & Futuring, Collective Action | Spr 11

What if people could make the difference by doing pretty much what they normally do? What would happen if by massively participating in this normal day activity they could generate personal benefits and create sustainable change, all at the same time?

Umbrellergy is a design concept that harnesses collective normal day actions, such as using an umbrella during a rainy day, to generate energy. The concept ponders a piezoelectric umbrella with a portable battery inside that can store raindrop energy, and a public kiosk system that allows citizens to borrow umbrellas when in need for them. The goal is for people to inadvertently collect energy through borrowed umbrellas; returned umbrellas storing raindrops energy can then be used for another community benefit: free cell phone charge.