The Home Network: Initial Concepts

This week at UID we presented our initial concepts to each other. I must say I'm not entirely happy with the place I've arrived, it feels somehow safe. 30 min to present, 30 min to discuss and this was my attempt to wrap my 5 weeks of work around a product/system.

 

A unified hub to turn your automated house into a communication interface with your family.

The Home Network from my initial drawings became something similar to a hub. Instead of dealing with modular sensors that you would install in your house, I've recognised that the source of information is actually the person itself, that lives there. For that reason, the data to be share would be collected from someone's "personal device" (that's my fancy word for smartphone of the future).

 
setup.png

For that reason, the set up is done by communicating to the House Network which people you are interested about sharing your information.

As soon as you enter your house, the Hub will know you arrived and the interface to communicate with your family will be open. Both sides need to agree being part of a network for the communication to start. Somehow similar to "allowing a follower" on Instagram.

 
 

The object should react to your touch, this way it will know exactly who you are and not allow everyone to access your network. The first message to be sent is a private one. It will only tell you that someone check on how you are doing, but it doesn't mean they got any data about you.

You can react to that as you please. If you choose to not do anything, only basic information will be shared ("someone read your message" as an example).  If you choose to check back on the person, you will start sharing basic data ("I am home, I am awake, I am sleeping... etc"). The more you check on each other, more data is translated through The Home Network and shared.

translated how???

 

The Home Network converts data collected by your personal device into ambient outputs, such as sounds, smells, ambient light, movement, temperature and it capture sounds as well. The goal is to communicate your daily routine and allow you to check specifically on people from Your Network.

It can also help you do to some activities together, so you can watch a movie together or cook using these multiple outputs. In a nutshell:

Enhances your family communication

A multi sensorial way of representing the casual comfort of being around someone when you need.

Focus on the bond you have with each person

Families don't have a homogeneous way of dealing with everyone. The network shares as much personal information as you want.


What I don't like about it

I'm still struggling with the "seamless" part of this project. It feels you don't really have control about the outputs of this device, a way of agreeing to receive those "sensorial messages".  I also think that the shared activities are way too complicated to deal with (is the device an output or input?). The snow globe metaphor, however, is something I like.  To me it symbolises the memory of innocence and happiness.

Many people during the presentation questioned the centralised artefact. So as a suggestion I decided to go back to the drawing board and do it QUICK. I've researched some in depth interviews and articles about how people deal with their home to test if it's worthy to separate this device. Maybe prototyping them will make more sense.

Next steps

  • Survey about relation from the people I interviewed and their personal objects, rooms and places. (Already sent!)
  • Review articles about Living Apart Together.
  • Define the stimuli and prototype them.