Read<>Share: Hardware prototype
A hardware prototype as a ticket-to-talk to support social interaction
Image above: A video screenshot capturing the enactment of the Read<>Share scenario
What is A ticket-to-talk TechnologY or TTTT?
Ticket-to-Talk-Technologies (TTTT) are a kind of digital technology that support social interaction between people living in local communities by enabling interpersonal awareness about a particular everyday activity. The project followed the three design rationales of TTTT:
Interpersonal awareness tied to a common everyday activity, in this case of reading.
Embracing ambiguity: Not revealing intentions of reading.
Peripherally displays the information in abstract forms
Roles and responsibilities
I was the solo designer, researcher and prototyper for this project. This included scouting for participants, finding collaborators to design the prototypes and finally writing the papers summarising the result of the six months long exploration.
Read<>Share is a TTTT to enable a pair of neighbours become aware of each other’s reading activity and in turn utilise the awareness as openings or ‘tickets’ for social interaction. It started with the key question:
If and how can digital technology enhance the awareness of everyday activities within a local community of senior citizens as an icebreaker to initiate and sustain social interaction?
Read<>Share is a conceptual hardware prototype, that allows non-nosy, low commitment social conversations between people living close-by. This was developed as a exploratory design process where I co-designed with the two participants, Asad and Sampath over a period of four months. The core idea revolves around sharing of mundane everyday activities between the two participants, who are also neighbours, to support their social interaction. The following texts expands on the process, contexts, how the prototype was built and the findings.
The inspiration of the project came from the Presence remote, Walky and Harvey Sack’s work that explored verbal utterances as tickets-to-talk, all of which focused on strengthening serendipitous opportunities for social interaction with a low level of upfront commitment to engage in social interaction. Svensson & Sokoler works on the PresenceRemote (PR) as a design concept of a TTTT allows senior citizens living within a community to voluntarily and reciprocally share aspects of their everyday TV watching with their friends. Being aware that their friends are watching TV at a particular time of day then becomes a way for them to strike a conversation with the friends when they meet face-to-face.
2. About the Participants, sampath and asad
I met Sampath through Asad while scouting for participants for my research. He is amicable and used to look forward to meeting me and sharing stories. So he and his wife became one of the key participants for the research.
A little bit about him. Sampath is a septuagenarian who lives with his wife in a gated community. He was in the pharmaceutical business and after retirement he became actively involved in community work. He has a son who lives abroad, and Sampath would regularly use video chat to talk to his son’s family. His younger neighbour, Asad, is a software developer who works from home. He used to often visit Sampath to address laptop and the video chat issues. A year back, Sampath had surgery that restricted his movement to home and also fatigued his eye making him discontinue the video calls with his son. This in turn reduced the frequency of Asad’s visits. Sampath now spends most of his free time reading in his balcony and occasionally takes a short walk in the common hallway in the evening.
An early drawing of a possible scenario inspired by Sampath’s story: (From left) Sampath is watching news; his niece arrives for an impromptu visit; they chit-chat; Sampath’s wife brings in tea; the niece points to a news that catches her eyes. Question: How can they continue the lightweight chit-chat once the niece gets back to her everyday life?
3. the different parts of the hardware installation
A fingertip data recorder that helps Sampath to image-capture couple of phrases while he is reading to share with Asad, and also to measure the time Sampath spends while reading (figure 1). As Asad does his reading online, he selects the phrases on his screen and sends them to Sampath’s book. For the exploration, we built only the physical mock-up of the recorder without the digital functionality. The digital functionality was simulated through Wizard-of-Oz method during the study.
Two physical books augmented with actuators that act as peripheral displays by opening up to a degree that represents the time spent by the other person on reading, and displays the shared phrases, but only for 24hrs.