An app to promote self reflection through interactive ambient technology
This final year project aimed to explore the role interactive systems can play in stimulating and promoting self-reflection. Through extensive background research that included literature review, state of the art review and empirical research in the form of design workshops and attending meditation classes design themes were formulated. The main focus was to explore the subjectivity of the matter and promote reflection in the home through ambient interactive technology. The main objective for this final year project was to create a speculative design piece rather than a concrete product idea. This approach was carefully selected to really capture the essence of the possibilities that emotive devices can play in the future.
This project combined different methodologies to explore the field of research – Affective Computing. One of the main aspects was the creation of “Reflection Probes” similar to Cultural probes as proposed by William Gaver – take home items that the user had to put on his /her wall that would spark reflection within the user in his comfortable environment. Findings from this interesting approach greatly influenced the design of the system itself. The final year project went through multiple iterations before arriving at the final solution that would later be presented at the Demo day in the Computer Science Building in University of Limerick.
The system proposed in this final year project consists of two main elements: a mobile application that aims to promote the user into self-reflective processes through multiple daily tasks and goals. This can be thought of as a mobile personal diary that reminds the user every day to think about his recent experiences and emotional events that could have influenced directly how a person may feel. The user is reminded to spend a few moments every other day to sit back and think on recent experiences – in hope that this healthy routine could lay foundations for a solid mental headspace.
Secondly, the system comprises of a digital mirror device that is directly correlated to the usage of the abovementioned application. A mirror was created as one of possibilities that in which a home (in the future) can reflect on the users’ moods / feelings.
This mirror acts as a normal mirror unless the user starts to disregard using the application. As the user forgets to get involved with the app and in turn self-reflection, the mirror would provide more and more distorted image back to the user (up to a point where its almost impossible to see our reflection). The metaphor in play with this design is that one cannot look to their outer appearance unless their inner state is being attended to and cared for regularly.