November 24, 2007
Reading for November 27th, are now posted. Enjoy!

October 2, 2007
To upload your thoughtless acts, create a new assignment page like any other lab. You'll see "Thoughtless Acts" listed as one of the assignment options.

May 24, 2008
This site has been archived and is no longer editable. Stay tuned for the next version, coming in the fall!

Why don't we...?

Project Members: 
Eun Kyoung Choe
Matt Chew Spence

1. Introduction


Elderly people may become socially isolated because of retirement, the passing of spouses and friends, and declining physical ability due to aging. However, being socially connected can help people maintain their mental and physical health.   Ongoing social interaction can protect against dementia and ameliorate the pain of cognitive decline for both afflicted elders and caregivers. Showing one's availability to engage in social activities can encourage more in person interactions with friends and family.


"Why Don't We...?" is a tool that allows a person to announce to friends and family that they are available and interested in doing something with other people.  A user can choose a specific activity that they would like to do, or simply announce that they are available without specifying a type of interaction. Most interpersonal communication technology is designed for individual to individual communications. We envision our tool as a way of allowing one person to find others in their social groups who might be interested in spur of the moment activities through a single interaction.  Our tool can be used both by people who are adept with technology and those who are not. Important design principles are 1) unobtrusiveness, 2) tangibility of a device, and 3) ease of use.


2. Interaction


The 'Why don't we...?' tool consists of a set of tokens which can be used as styluses, and an interactive display surface. The tokens are mapped to activities such as exercise, eating, entertainment, shopping, etc which a person wants to share the experience with the others.  One token would map to: "I am available and would like to do something unspecified."  The tool follows an what-when-where-who interaction.   When a user lifts a token a grid appears on the display that shows the activity types that relate to the token.  The user can choose one or multiple activities by touching the token to the grid boxes.  Once the activity is chosen, a clock interface shows up that allows a user to choose the time of the activity.  Once the time is chosen, A map appears on the display, showing the user's vicinity.  The user can circle the proposed area of the activity with the token. The user can decide whether to send it the message to everybody in their contact list, or select specific people to invite to do something.


Once an activity has been defined, the system sends out an announcement to other people, perhaps using an SMS text message interface.  The faces of people who respond to the text message show up on the display.


3. Implementation

- Some sort of interactive display medium such as a touchscreen

- Different shapes/colors of tokens that are easy to grab and write (function as a stylus)

- How to make tokens being recognized and visually reflected onto the interface?


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