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noise

Noise is an IoT device that includes three components, the sharing point, projector, and the app, to let users immerse themselves in their loved ones, live time. With the visualization of human white noise, people can feel the presence of their family, friends, and maintain their sense of belonging when far away from home.

DURATION

6 weeks, May 2021 - Jun 2021

TEAM

Joanne Chen, Yuna Shin, Jasper Xie, Gwenna Gram

CONTRIBUTION

Research, Ideation, Ecosystem Design, Prototype, Design language, Motion Design

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design challenge

How might we help people across different living spaces stay connected with one another and maintain their sense of belonging?

contextual inquiry

To start, my team was interested in the topic of untraditional homes and what it means to be at home. We started by interviewing individuals to gain insights into some of the challenges that people were facing. Through the interviews, we synthesized and sorted out the key insights that guided our design direction further.

INTERVIEWS

Individuals

  • People with split family

  • Student living in an urban and city home

  • Worker who has long work time in offices

What We've Learned

We initially explored a lot of different user groups and thinking about what it means to "be at home". As a group, we were interested in people living across different spaces and the need to connect through distance. We interviewed the individuals that fall within the category and from that we learned...

 

Individuals living in one or more place need a way to feel the presence of their family members when away in order to feel more at home.

Research Key Insights

"It’s the people in the space that makes it feel like home, there isn’t much emotional connection to the objects."

"I feel frustrated that there is never a time when both parents can see what is happening in my life at the same time, but I’m grateful that we share a texting group chat."

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 design statement

With the quotes that we gathered from our participants, we realized that people who live in multiple homes due to family issues or work often lack connections with their family members. And they would benefit from the feeling of their family's presence when they are away. With that, we took time to define our design principles to make sure the product we deliver adheres to the most important values.

CONTEXT

Individuals in untraditional living circumstances who are away from home for periods of time often lack connection with those they live with and lose the comfort that comes with being “home.”

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Realistic
Being aware of the complexity and conflicts that arise in relationships over a long-period of time.

Consensual

Taking precautions around data privacy and unwanted surveillance.

Digestible

Displaying information in a visually accessible way.

Relationship-focused

Focusing on human relationships rather than objects.

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personas

To better understand and gain empathy for our target group, we also defined our user group to make sure we are creating the product with the specific users in mind.

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Primary
8 year old, elementary student

Background: Spends every other weekend at her dad’s house.

“I feel frustrated that there is never a time when both parents can see what is happening in my life at the same time, but I’m grateful that we share a texting group chat.”

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Primary
35 year old, doctor

Background: Spends long periods of time at hospital away from family.

“Under so much time pressure, the small actions really warms your heart.”

“It’s the people in the space that makes it feel like home, there isn’t much emotional connection to the objects.”

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Secondary
20 year old, college student

Background: leaving her long-time childhood friend and family for college.

“I'm going to miss them so so much, I won't be able to see them anytime soon.”

"I don't know if connecting through the phone will feel the same..."

concept exploration

Below are the two concepts we have developed with storyboards to illustrate the point. The first concept is a far-fetched speculative tin-can concept that evokes emotion passively and abstractly. We then transferred the idea to our second concept, which is the more plausible visualization of motion.

concept development

Next, we created a user journey and an ecosystem map to understand the device touchpoint within their day-to-day life, identify the features of each device within the system, and mapped out the user flow for our app to make sure we have the desired features implemented.

design decisions

Through the design process, we were constantly having the conversation of privacy and how to track motion in a way that is not invasive, plausible, and fits with the principles we defined. Below are some of our thought processes and how we ended up with the idea.

HOW WILL MOTION BE DETECTED?

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Using Location Data In Phones

Challenges

  • Motions are not tracked when the users do not have their phone with them.

  • Certain user groups do not use smartphones (i.e. kids, grandparents)

  • Experience becomes too digital.

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Projectors Also As Detectors

Challenges

  • What you want to detect and where you want to watch your loved ones, are separate things.

  • The combination of Projector/Detector makes it easier to identify each individual (and what they are sharing)

  • Overlapping detectors & ranges can be confusing.

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Using One Detector Per Home

Solution

  • Simplifies connecting experience and multiple networks

  • Creates for a larger, more interesting space to detect motion

  • Solves issues found with other detection methods

moodboard

We also took some time to create a mood board to visualize the design a bit more. I then started to design the motion graphics, the different color codes, and the meanings.

FINAL DESIGN

 

Noise

Human white noise made visual.

IoT devices that helps individuals feel the presence of family and friends when away to feel more at home.

How does it work?

3 Devices

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1

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2

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3

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Sharing Point

Each home has one motion detector that picks up motion data across the span of their Wi-Fi range.

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Projector

Households can have as many projectors as they would like — each can be connected to varying sharing points

Individuals within the same household will appear as the same colored outer gradient

Individuals moving across spaces are represented in centered gradients

When two individuals come in contact with one another, their projections overlap 

Tap

Tap to switch projection mode from projections on the globe to the wall for a more immersed experience.

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Pinch

Pinch to adjust the size of the projection for both globe mode and wall mode.

Rotate

Rotate to change the projection angle for the best viewing experience.

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Noise App

Each projector owner has a paired app, with which they can request to connect to sharing points, and personalize their experience.

Welcome to Noise

To start, open the Noise app with the onboarding screens that shows the motivation and purpose behind Noise, as a way to re-think how technology can make us feel connected and what it means to truly be at "home".

Set up your devices

Next, set up the devices that you have purchased. To do so, put the sharing point or projector you wish to connect near your phone and hold down the Bluetooth button. After it is connected, you can then name it, and it would appear on your dashboard.

Request connection to sharing point

To view other’s live time movement, you will need to request a connection to their sharing point by typing in their username on the dashboard. This notification will be automatically sent to the other's app.

Accept request to view sharing point data

On the other person’s end, they will see the request to connect to their sharing point device. If the person has more than one sharing point, they can choose which sharing points (different locations) they want the user to join.

Connect to

sharing Point

After the person has accepted your request, you will be able to see the sharing point when clicking on your projector on the dashboard and choosing to view their live time motions. 

Settings

The Noise app includes other settings, a page for you to customize colors of the projections, a visualization of sharing point range for data privacy and transparency, a documentation of all the gestures for the projector.

Phone Screen Integration

You can also set your phone screen to the live movements of your loved ones. When you are on the go and don't have the projector with you, you will still be able to engage with them across distance.

Immerse yourself in your loved ones, live time

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reflection

DATA PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS

There was a long discussion in our team to create a product that leverages the use of motion tracking to foster that deeper connection with others while making sure that people are aware of the data captured and are consciously giving others access to it. Through the project, I have learned that being transparent about privacy and data collection takes a lot of consideration. When designing, we should be mindful of it and let users have control over their personal information. 

NEXT STEPS 

We would love to refine the design even more. With the concept and overall design completed, we want to revisit the use case of split families, which was the original persona in the beginning and do user testing. We also would love to design the extension of devices for more mobility, such as the Apple Watch.