Mueller et al (2005) - Hug over a Distance - Hug Over a...

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Hug Over a Distance Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller 1,2 Frank Vetere 1 Martin R. Gibbs 1 Jesper Kjeldskov 1,3 Sonja Pedell 1 Steve Howard 1,3 1 Interaction Design Group, Department Of Information Systems University of Melbourne Victoria 3010, Australia 2 CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Australia 3 Aalborg University Fredrik Bajers Vej 5 9100 Aalborg Denmark [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] ABSTRACT People in close relationships, who are separated by distance, often have difficulty expressing intimacy adequately. Based on the results of an ethnographic study with couples, a prototype was developed to test the feasibility of technology in the domain of intimacy. Hug Over a Distance is an air-inflatable vest that can be remotely triggered to create a sensation resembling a hug. Although the couples did not consider the vest to be useful in their daily lives, the prototype served to provoke and stimulate design ideas from the couples during participative design workshops. An additional and unexpected benefit was also found: the prototype enhanced the couples’ understanding of the researchers’ methods, suggesting that prototypes can serve as tools to make participatory design volunteers aware of their importance in academic research. Author Keywords Social interaction, haptic interface, tactile display, remote interaction, intimacy, participatory design, wearable computing, ubiquitous computing, design workshop. ACM Classification Keywords H5.2. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): User Interfaces. INTRODUCTION Task-oriented technology, such as email, videoconferencing and mobile phone voice and text communications were initially invented to increase efficiency in communication and collaboration. However, people often adapt them to satisfy their needs for social interaction: Flirting, chatting or finding marriage partners with these technologies are all lucrative businesses today, even though the initial designers surely did not envision such uses. Figure 1. Rubbing the koala sends a wireless Hug over a Distance executed through the vest. RESEARCH QUESTION Through the use of focus groups and design workshops, we sought to answer the question: What would an interface look like that is designed from the outset to facilitate and encourage social, even intimate interaction? Research Plan In our initial empirical study using focus groups and cultural probes, we examined personal interactions of six intimate couples [6]. We then set out to design and build a prototype that addresses some of the participants’ needs. We identified two of the major themes, designed an interface around these themes, and decided to present this prototype to the participants during a design workshop. We were hoping to receive feedback and provoke design ideas from the participants by the use of the prototype.
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  • Spring '16
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