Project 3 Final: the FitFun Treadmill

Here is a prototype of the treadmill’s screen:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4072122/Interface2.swf

And here is a link to our use-case video:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4072122/FitFunTreadmill_Scenario.mov

For the scenario video, we first came up with 4 different Character Profiles in vein of one IDEO method card’s suggestion.

1) Crystal Lynn

An introverted junior that lives off campus

Feels awkward going to the gym because she doesn’t feel on the same level as other people.

Knows that she should exercise, but makes excuses like “I don’t have time; too much classwork,” or “I need to relax at some point, right?”

Has only been to the CRC 5 or 6 times over the course of her time at Tech

Always with a friend or a group.

Enjoys running, but doesn’t have the motivation to go to the gym

2) Eddy Z. Lott

A highly health-conscious grad student working on his Architecture masters.

Believes in ergonomics.

“A healthy body is key to a healthy mind!”

Proclaims regular exercise gives him an extra boost to his class work.

Goes to the CRC every evening, from 6-7.

Warms up on the treadmills for 5 minutes.

Goes with one of his buddies: two if his roommate is up.

3) Mary Smith

A freshman in the beginning of her first semester at Tech.

Bogged down with lots of core classes.

Played soccer in high school, but doesn’t have the time in college to commit to playing on a team.

Does not have any high school friends at Tech.

Still trying to make new friends in college.

Uses the CRC to try to stay healthy and relieve stress.

Longs for the companionship that she had from her high school soccer team.

Loves to run, but is very lonely.

4) Julia Anne Williams

An outgoing but very self-concious girl who enjoys spending time with friends and sorority sisters as long as she’s not the center of attention.

Very active volunteer, in a number of clubs/committees on campus.

Is a little overweight but not obese.

Enjoys physical activity with friends, but rarely does any alone.

Tries to go to the gym at least once a week, but is inconsistent and has no real plan when going.

Is not enthusiastic about running, although she realizes its benefits.

In the end we chose the characters Crystal Lyn and Mary Smith for our final video.

In line with the other IDEO method card we drew inspiration from, Scale Modeling, we both created a digital model of the modified gym floor layout, with two rows of treadmills facing each other, and a tangible paper model of the new treadmill design: the red you see visible changes based on the player’s assigned color upon logging in. The white treadmill is to make players feel more open and welcome, and was inspired by the wii’s simple, clean and open design.

Gym Floor Layout


the New Treadmill

 

You can view the powerpoint we used here:

Project3Presentation.pptx

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Project 3 Part 5: Plan Implementation

We took the outlined plan from Part 4 and applied it at our next visit to the gym. Many of those interviewed were enthusiastic about the idea of a more interactive treadmill. Certain interviewees suggested ideas of their own. A unanimous question was on the nature of the treadmill’s speed mechanism during competitive games: the traditional treadmill wouldn’t work well in a race. The mechanism was worked out later and explained in the presentation, which I will cover in the next and final post.

Layout:

Below you can see the current layout of the gym: we plan on modifying the layout of the treadmills as well to encourage interactivity.

Direct observation:

● Most people came individually

● Unless an individual came with another person, he/she chose a treadmill that was adjacent to two vacant treadmills

● Some people choose to walk in between machines instead of walking around to an aisle

● Multiple pairs of people that came in to the CRC together would choose treadmills (usually two adjacent treadmills) and begin their workouts and would not have any interaction until they had finished running

● One girl chose a machine that was next to another girl, but the gap between the two machines was considerably sizable.

● The ratio of people with earbuds/ headphones plugged in changed over time as follows:

5/9: 6/10: 8/12

● Pairs of people tend to run at the same pace

● One pair that wished to talk actually required both to stop running and for one partner to walk over to the other person’s treadmill

Interviews:

Interview 1:

Warm-Up

How often do you use the treadmill?

3 times a month

When you come to the gym, is it usually in a group or by yourself?

Both

Is there anything you would change about it?

N/A

Main Body

How do you feel about interacting with others on the treadmill?

Definitely support this; would make things more fun.

There’s not much interaction now

What would you think about adding games to the treadmill?

Would be fun, motivational

What kinds of games would you like?

Sports-type games; racing, endurance, varied condition etc. Make

sure it isn’t too involving, so that you can focus on running.

How would competing against a friend affect the treadmill experience for you?

Would make it more fun, competitive

Cool-Down

How do you feel about frozen yogurt?

 

Interview 2:

Warm-Up

How often do you use the treadmill?

4 times a week, as a warm-up for 10 minutes.

When you come to the gym, is it usually in a group or by yourself?

Usually with a friend: do not run together.

Main Body

Adjacent treadmills are not always available for friends.

As long as no button pressing is involved, games would be cool.

Games would increase time spent on the treadmills.

Cool-Down

How do you feel about frozen yogurt?

Likes it, but is confused by the question.

Interview 3:

Warm-Up

How often do you use the treadmill?

3-4 times a week, for 15-20 minutes as a warm-up.

When you come to the gym, is it usually in a group or by yourself?

Usually with additional friends.

Do not run together, but the ability to do so easily would be nice.

Main Body

Everyone usually watches the screen.

A virtual trainer to help push you to work harder would be nice.

Adding a competitive element is suggested.

Adding an interactive element is also suggested.

Would definitely participate in a game together.

Interacting with all the other people on the treadmills in a virtual playground is also suggested.

Connecting via iPhone or FaceBook is suggested.

The ability to connect with other treadmillers and potentially meet new people after getting off is suggested.

For the most part, the current treadmills are boring: if they were more interactive and competitive, more time would definitely be spent on them.

Cool-Down

How do you feel about frozen yogurt?

Enthusiastically likes it, but finds question random.

Analysis

We found from the interviews that people seem to be excited about the the prospect of making the treadmill more social.  They did however say that even with social interaction available, they wanted to be able to focus on running still.  Two of the people we interviewed specifically said that dealing with pushing buttons or anything else requiring extra coordination and focus are undesirable.  It seems that people want to maintain their primary focus on running, but with a more social environment: they think it could make the treadmill less boring and help as a motivational factor (mainly by fostering a competitive environment).

Summary

Our research regarding the social aspect of treadmills included several interviews and two 30-minute observation periods. The subjects of the interviews came from various groups of people, ensuring that we did not over-represent any particular demographic. The observations suggest that the treadmill in particular is an asocial machine, as many users (usually around 3/4)  have headphones in and do not come with a group. Additionally, our survey results suggest that these same users would enjoy social stimulation on the treadmill; several agreed with the idea of a game, though they specifically stated that buttons would be distracting and detrimental to the experience.

Conclusion

Our findings for the most part support our new treadmill concept. Many people did not find the treadmill particularly engaging and spent as little time as possible on it as a warm-up. Users were open to the idea of a new competitive, interactive element and stated they would be more willing to spend time on the treadmill if it involved games and social interaction. A few interviewees even took the time to offer their own suggestions for games and interaction. Users, however, were not particularly keen on the idea of additional buttons, levers, etc: games and other programs for the treadmill should not deter attention away from the primary goal of running/ jogging. Due to rapidly-developing technology, we then mused over the possibility of integrating technology similar to Kinect, to change the treadmill speed based on the user’s body movements and easily integrate the user’s movements into any games and programs with minimal user effort. Other less costly ideas included the use of a pedometer-like device and an interactive bracelet, to track speed changes. Many users stated they usually came to the gym with friends, and that the lack of available adjacent treadmills discouraged them from running together: reconfiguring the arrangement of treadmills should solve this problem. We plan on creating a miniature model with little arrangeable treadmill models to address this issue.

Reflection

Using both methods of interviews and observation, we were able to gain an informative insight into the minds of the treadmill users. Acting incognito, we were able to freely observe users as they approached the treadmills, as they interacted with the machines and others around them, and as they left the machines. The interviews gave us deeper insight by revealing the unapparent facts such as users who were at the gym with friends, but not running together.

Although our methods were effective, our target demographic could have been different to yield even more useful results. We are looking at encouraging and motivating potential or unlikely gym-goers, so it would have been a good idea to target those who may not be at the gym or who do not go to the gym more than twice a week. Also, those that we did interview tended to be in a group already, so targeting students who were alone or did not already have a defined group of people could have given us an idea as to how we could change their ways.

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Project 3 Part 4: Shaping up the Research Plan

Data Gathering Techniques:

Interview –

Will give us an idea of the current perception gym frequenters have towards the gym and treadmills, and how they feel about adding a social aspect to it. Will give us a clearer idea of how users interact with and are impacted by the treadmill, giving us the information we need to more accurately design scenarios.

Questionnaire –

A questionnaire would give us a large amount of data regarding feeling and attitudes towards a social aspect being added to a treadmill, as well as current thoughts about treadmills and the gym atmosphere in general. It would be easier to quantify than other data gathering methods.

Observation –

By observing users on the treadmill passively we ensure that we do not affect the natural behavior of gym goers in their environment. We can therefore gauge more accurately how social their behavior with the current treadmill design is and consider how the treadmill’s current design induces this behavior.

Based on the nature of our research environment, we have decided to use the following two techniques:

1) Interview

2) Observation

IDEO Method Cards:

Character Profiles –


We will be creating a persona to test against the machine.

The types of personalities that frequent the treadmills should be noted: these personalities should then be considered when creating the Chara Profiles. Since many people attend the gym for many personal reasons, creating believable characters and considering the impact the new design will have on them is important.

Scale Modeling –

We will be making a scaled model of the treadmill and interface in order to find any obvious faults with the design.

We will also make a small mini-model of the gym, to take the arrangment of the treadmills in the environment into consideration

 

Data Harvesting Plan

Interview

Semi-structured Interviews

Questions:

Introduction

Hi, my name is __________!

We are working on redesigning the treadmill and would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Warm-Up

How often do you use the treadmill?

When you come to the gym, is it usually in a group or by yourself?

Is there anything you would change about it?

Main Body

How do you feel about interacting with others on the treadmill?

What would you think about adding a game to the treadmill?

What kinds of games do you like?

How would competing against a friend affect the treadmill experience for you?

Cool-Down

How do you feel about frozen yogurt?

Closure

Thank you for your time! Your input was most Valuable to us!

Observation

Passive Observertion

Draw out traffic patterns

Earbud/ Headphone Ratio Polls

Record in-depth how a user approaches the treadmill before using it

Note any social interactions taking place among treadmillers

How many come individually, with a friend, or in a group?

Participant Observertion

Actually try out treadmills personally: note thought process while using it

Attempt to interact socially with adjacent person: note what happens

Note how often the adjacent person is watching TV/ listening to music.

 

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Comparative Analysis for the Treadmill

In adding social interaction to the gym, we have decided to specifically focus on the treadmill. By studying different comparable products we hope to isolate what aspects successfully encourage enjoyable social interaction. Using these aspects we then hope to redesign the treadmill into a competitive, highly enjoyable and social product.

Arcade Racing Games

Similarly to the treadmill, arcade racing games are composed of single-person units placed in one forward-facing row. A screen occupies the user’s attention for a majority of the time, and only the people directly to the sides are accessible for chit-chat. However, the games are clearly competitive and designed to encourage users to interact with each other. Each unit is placed close to one another, and the distance between adjacent players allows for comfortable conversation. Each unit is also carved with open sides, unlike the treadmill, whose hand supports wrap around to create a slight wall. Many developers even develop their machines by attaching two single-person units together, as in the representative picture above: this ensures that when an arcade installs the game, there are spots for at least two people. The traditional racing game we know today will allow users to choose their car, driver etc: it will then have the user wait as it checks for any other users on the network. If any other users have chosen the same track, they will be linked to the pending game, where they can then proceed to compete against each other. There is a clear ranking system and at times there may be a leader board. Placing the treadmills closer together would encourage users to interact with one another.

 

Multi-player Video game: Super Smash Brothers Brawl

Like the arcade racing game, multi-player video games encourage competition among users: the experience is not as complete or satisfying as when playing individually. In Super Smash Brothers Brawl, the main premise is for users to choose to play as their favorite video game character from a number of Nintendo franchises: each character has their own unique skills and abilities. Players then fight against each other to knock out opponents from the stage. The feel of the game is competitive but light-hearted, ensuring that the mood does not sour among players. Everybody plays on a single screen, and all players must give their consent before a game begins. Althought the game has little in relation with the treadmill, its ability to successfully engage players in light-hearted informal gameplay makes it a notable product for our research. It is considered one of the most successful multi-player video games and is able to appeal to both light and hard-core gamers.

 

School P.E.

Although not necessarily a product, the school gym and its associated physical education class is a notable environment for actively engaging all students to participate together. As it is a class, participation among members is required in many activities, contrasting it from the usual gym. Many activities will usually pit groups of classmates among each other in competitive sports, inciting students to try harder and push themselves for their groupmates. Many students do not necessarily participate in competitive sports requiring teamwork on their own, such as football and basketball, and by being forced via the P.E. coach, they get a taste of what it means to be on a team. From being in teams in my P.E. classes I have generally grown to become more comfortable among the team members and motivated to try harder for the sake of whatever team I am on. In more individual activities that push is gone and I feel more apathetic about my performance. By adding the motivating aspect of teamwork to the treadmill, members of the gym will grow closer together, feel less introverted and gain that extra push and drive to work harder for the team.

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Project 3 Part 3: Running the Observation

We went to the CRC to actually observe and study how people interact with the machines and each other at the gym. Overall we found that many people usually plugged in their headsets immediately upon choosing a treadmill. The treadmills themselves were large and imposing, the screens staring the user straight in the eye as if daring them to look away. The hand supports stretched out and framed the sides, as if the treadmill was embracing the user in an isolating grasp, and the treadmills took up a lot of room, causing runners to be spaced apart. Many people used the treadmill, so worries over whether enough people for a multiplayer program are available can be absolved. The main demographic seems to be female, so gearing our programs towards that demographic would be best.

Main Goals of our Study:

We set out to observe the many social and interactive components of the CRC.
The way people reacted and conformed to the current environment was a key
point in our observations. Were people likely to choose machines that were
close to others or farther away from others? How many would actually take the
initaitive to converse with a fellow gym-user? The number of people who chose
to work out with head phones was also noted. We also set out to possibly interact
with people actually partaking in what the CRC has to offer. Ways the set up of
the gym influenced the decisions that people made when choosing how and where
they would exercise were also noted. We ultimately wanted to see what was
lacking that would allow for exercising at the CRC, and more specifically, on a
treadmill to be a more social experience.

Observations:

A large number of people were at the gym and most of the machines were occupied. Many users came alone instead of with a friend or in a group. Weight-training machines were placed near the outer edge of the gym while more motorized machines (such as treadmills, ellipticals etc.) are placed in neat rows facing forward, at the center of the gym. The uni-directional arrangement discourages much interaction among motorized machine users. Screens on the machines also discouraged interaction: on some of the treadmills the screens were placed at eye-level, taking up much of the user’s field of vision. A large percentage of users also chose to further isolate themselves by donning earbuds and listening to music while exercising: 13 out of 20 wore earbuds on the treadmills. We also noted the hugging shape of the treadmill: it appears to extend arms towards the user, as if to engulf them in a personal bubble. Treadmills are also fairly spaced apart: one user who wanted to interact with another actually physically got off his treadmill and approached the side of the treadmill besides him to talk.

When interviewing one user, she claimed that she viewed the gym as a place where she can get “alone time,”: forcing a social component in would take away this precious time for introspection. She did also note that when she did come with a friend, they usually pushed each other and there was a slightly competitive atmosphere. She enjoyed the idea of a new design that would foster the competitive atmosphere and particularly enjoyed the idea of a networked racing game on the treadmill.

The exercise bikes near the very front of the room held a program called Expresso with game-like aspects. The screen shows an avatar of your character on a track or open field and as you cycle, your avatar moves about in the virtual space. The feel is similar to an arcade, and there was a possibility that the program might network the bikes. Upon testing the bikes, we found the user interface clunky and confusing. The machine required the user to register or sign in as a guest: the extra time required for a user to figure out the program and possibly register are discouraging. None of the games were networked and still isolated the individual. The program, however, did have a leader board and a way to check on an individual’s progress online at any time: the idea of a leader board fosters a competitive atmosphere and offers users an incentive. One of the zanier games, a game where the user chases dragons, did draw comment from those around: unique, interesting games give people something to talk about and better encourages social interaction. The overall design of the bike did encourage interaction moreso than the large, containing treadmills.

Two treadmills near the front were pink for breast cancer awareness: during breast cancer awareness month both treadmills tallied the distance run against each other, and users would get on the treadmill of their choice to help it get ahead of the other one. The event fostered a competitive, social atmosphere at the time and was fairly successful. The competitive component of the event provided the incentive users needed to interact with one another and push themselves to get more out of the gym. The machines now keep track of how many miles were run to determine the amount that will be contributed to cancer research. Near the entrance of the gym, a wall can be seen of all the participants who have helped contribute to the cause against breast cancer.

Conclusion:

The atmosphere of the area was serious, focused, and generally unfriendly to social interaction. Thirteen out of twenty people were listening to their headphones, and almost none of them made eye contact with us unless we directly approached them. While thinking about how to change this atmosphere, we discussed facing the treadmill rows at each other or arranging them in a circle. Additionally, we talked about integrating a racing game similar to the bicycle machines, where the players could race each other. Our approach to observation was to first observe all users from outside the environment: we then entered the bubble to directly experience the product itself.

Photos:


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Project 3 Part 2: Working Out a New Gym Design

The original concept of redesigning Exercising into something more social and interactive was tweaked and narrowed down to the specific task of redesigning the gym! Like with bus rides and the grocery store, there are a large number of people all together in one large spacious area: the difference, however, is a crucial one. The people you find on a bus, or the store, or at school are all very different. At a gym, however, the vast majority are there for a single common goal: to become healthier and fit. By redesigning the gym into something that takes advantage of this common goal we can foster a supportive network among gym members that would definitely add to their experience for the better.

 

Description:

Those who go to the gym on a regular basis usually keep to themselves, despite the relatively large, open space and the congregation of people with a similar interest: getting fit. There is very little difference between going to a gym and simply working out at home: most people are self-contained in either situation. Many of the exercise machines offered only aggravate the problem: most of the machines are designed as single units that accommodate and isolate an individual from other exercisers. The large number of people working towards similar goals could become an invaluable resource itself by fostering it into a supportive network. We believe that by redesigning the machines to encourage gym members to interact with each other, we help to create this supportive network among health-conscious members. Members will be able to give each other the push they need to get closer to their goals, whether by friendly encouragement or competition.

We think that by networking exercise machines together we can encourage users to interact with each other. Applying a game component to the machines also adds a more playful dimension to the usually quiet and somewhat serious atmosphere of the gym, giving users an added incentive to stick to their regular gym schedule. Games easily create an air of competition and a rush of adrenaline that encourage users to push themselves harder. Markers such as lights, flags, etc. can be used to mark what machines currently have users linked together in a game. They are also highly attractive and aesthetically pleasing, therefore encouraging users to try an interactive game via a machine. For example, when two groups of people choose to race against each other in an interactive racing game, the treads of the treadmills will light up according to a user’s team.

Devices similar to the Wii remote and Wii balance board will also be available for those who want light exercise: these devices, too, link up to other similar devices in a game. For example, users could participate in an elimination-round-style game such as Street Fighter: they would be required to use the Wii-remote and board and physically kick and punch to perform the moves. A more familiar example is Mario Brothers: users would run on a combination treadmill/ Wii-board machine. One user could be Mario and the other Yoshi. A screen would show Mario in a side-scroller, and to get Mario to run, a user would physically run. To get Mario to jump, the user would jump. The user playing as Yoshi would jump to get Yoshi to attack and run in pace with the other user to make sure Yoshi and Mario stayed together.

Machines also link to sites such as Twitter and Facebook, allowing users to post their progress or current record proudly to their friends. Through these innovations we believe the gym will transform into a more lively, supportive and active environment that fosters supportive relationships among members.

 

Storyboard:

As always, click the images to see them in a larger, clearer resolution:

There are two teams of treadmill-runners: Red and Blue. The treadmill has a program in it where the bottom track lights up as the color of the member’s team, and the screen displays a blue and red car. The total number of laps the members of a team runs determines how far the car goes. The team whose car passes the finishing line first wins: it’s a collaborative effort!

Prototyping Plan:

All the ideas for different machines in the new gym will be finalized, and a map of the new gym and its machines will be drawn. Each type of exercise machine and its interactive qualities will be highlighted.

Very rough paper prototypes will be drawn out: we will then user-test them. Based on feedback, we would then create semi-prototypes which we will lay over existing gym equipment (for example, we would create screen prototypes which we would then lay over the screen of an existing treadmill)

We then plan on creating use case videos that show us interacting with various machines in our new gym. A small model of the gym may be created, if time permits.

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Project 3 Part 1: Finding Products to Socialize

All eight of us miraculously managed to meet up and come up with 25 ideas together: we discussed the possibilities in all of them, then took a vote on the three ideas we would present tomorrow. Here are our original 25 ideas with their short descriptions: it’s a little long, I apologize in advance.

1) Waiting In Lines

Lots of people are together, being bored and not interacting. By adding in a game while your waiting, the customers could interact with each other and possibly create a more pleasant experience for the customer, as well as encourage them to come back. Or lines can be made more social with smaller changes such as simply letting people in line see people who have already gotten their food, and they would be encouraged to ask what sort of food it is or how good it is.

2) Table

Designed to have those sitting face each other in an intimate circle and interact/ share things easily, but often not used as such in a public setting. By integrating some sort of game or trivia, the table could be reverted back to its social roots. You could capitalize on its already social aspects and create an interactive playful space: for example, you could have a digital-surfaced table that allowed those sitting to play pong with each other by moving a virtual paddle. You could also have it interface with any laptops or MP3 players a person has on him/her to then show what that person is viewing/ listening to to other people.

3) Pizza

Like the table, pizza is designed to encourage consumers to face each other in an intimate circle: designed to be a shared experience. Perhaps make it so that users have to play a game to get a slice? Or if customers had to make their pizza in groups at the restaurant first, much more social interaction would occur.

4) Bus Ride

Bus rides at Tech tend to be a very antisocial experience in which the bus riders try to avoid making eye contact with any of the other passengers.  There is a lot of potential for interaction that could be entertaining, helping the time on the bus to pass quickly while making new friends.  This could help to create and maintain friendships between people who commute to the same place at the same time on a regular basis.  It might be fun to have a collaborative choosing of music or a logic puzzle to work out together during the ride.  Or maybe the riders could be given roles in a script that they could act out over the course of the trip.

5) Food Court in the Student Center

There are a lot of people who go to the student center alone or in a small group, yet the tables are set up for larger groups.  The meal experience could be enhanced with more interaction between the people sitting at the tables.  It would be interesting to have a trivia game that ran throughout the course of the day.  It would be set up so that people sitting at the table could discuss the answer to trivia questions that appear on the tv’s or on a screen at the table.  There could be incentive for participating (some prize to those who participated over the course of the day).

6) Cleaning Products

This idea was inspired by my mom’s first grade class.  At the end of everyday the kids clean up the classroom.  So I was thinking that cleaning would clearly be more fun if there were a social aspect to it.  A competition of some kind would promote cleanliness as well as fun.  Some possibilities would be having a dustpan that weighed the amount of trash swept into it and compared to other dustpans or having a device that could detect the amount of dirt/grime that a wipe collects.

7) Shopping in the grocery store

Shopping at the grocery store to many is an onerous task to be avoided at all cost until it is absolutely necessary.  There is, however, a potential for a lot of social interaction and the possibility for some fun.  There could be some way to collect coupons by shooting other carts with laser guns (kind of like laser tag), but not with any negative reinforcement.  The shopper could collect coupons but not lose them.  Or there could be some recipe sharing capability?  The goal is to find some way to make the shoppers have the experience in community.

8 ) Networked online movie watching

Would allow users to watch movies with people in different places. (would be an awesome plugin thing for Netflix). If not on the computer, there could be an app made for newer TVs that allowed users to sync their movie with their friends and communicate without using a phone or computer. The experience of watching sports with friends would be available for experience on the Internet with people far away.

9) Collaborative Photoshop (/ other media software) editing

Everyone can see the final product and work on the various pieces of project together at once. It would be like putting a puzzle together, but each person is responsible for their section of the puzzle. In turn, each person would have to collaborate with the others to make sure their styles and lines matched up. It would be both educational and fun!

10) Collaborative / Multiplayer Tower Defense Video Game

There has never really been a multiplayer version of this type of game, so there could be potential for fun. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_defense . The players could cooperate on how to best utilize resources and the best way to design the maze to stop ‘creeps’ from escaping.

11) Collaborative story writing

Have a board or paper where someone starts a snippet of a story, which is continued on by another random person. Having large, digital display boards that broadcast the story would increase attractiveness and cause others to be more enthusiastic to try their hand at the story creation.

12) Portable CTRL+F key

Through GPS software, help users find everyday things that get misplaced (car keys, phone, etc). Could also be used by parents to monitor their children on playgrounds, etc. Another approach could be to utilize it for games and everyday events. One use would be scavenger hunts. Each day users could check for a list of things to find and if they locate them, scan them with the device and earn points.

13) Collaborative Sports streams

Small chatroom/webcam and a sports game playing so that friends at long distances can enjoy games together. Users could link the stream to their TV channels and watch games together. They could interact with one another through chat, video and even drawing or communicating through stream itself, circling plays and other events that occurred on screen.

14) Touch screen ordering

Have multiple kiosks set up at fast food restaurants in which users can come in, make their selection, have a receipt with the order number printed out and then can pay at a separate register and then pick up their order # when it is ready. To increase its social factor, customers could leave reviews and food suggestions behind once they’ve used the machine. Users could also access their friend’s suggestions that they may post on places like Yelp or Facebook.

15) Making StarCraft more social:

StarCraft is already slightly social, as players are able to type to each other in-game, but players rarely do and just concentrate on playing instead of socializing. One way to increase social interaction in the game is to reward players for talking to each other. The game can be modified to give players extra money in-game for talking, and this can even be worked into the uniqueness of the game’s three playable factions by giving even more bonus money to players for talking about a subject assigned to their race. For example, if a player is Terran he or she would receive extra money for saying hello (which would apply to all players), but would receive even more money by asking the other player how the weather is where they are at (weather would become a Terran-centric conversation topic). Or instead of giving the players extra money, they could be penalized for not socializing. For instance if a player asked the other how his or her day was going, they would stop making as much money from mining until they responded.

16) Making Tetris social:

Tetris is a single player puzzle game that requires a lot of planning and concentration. An interesting way to make it more social would involve making it a co-operative multiplayer game where all players are playing the same game of tetris, but each player can only control one kind of shape (or a limited amount depending on number of players). This requires the team to make plans for the game and involves a lot of co-ordination and communication to successfully play the game.

17) Making Left 4 Dead more social:

Left 4 Dead is an extremely popular and well-made co-op game, and already encourages players to play together and communicate. But oftentimes when players are not playing with friends that they already know, they will not talk to the other players very much, relying only on the in-game forms of communication. One way to “force” the players to be more social in the game is to remove many of these in-game elements. For instance usually if a player is severely hurt or trapped, the game will notify everyone else playing and the hurt player will be shown through walls in the game. If this was removed, it would force the hurt player to ask the other players for help manually, thus leading to more socializing in the game.

18) Artemis Space Bridge Simulator

Think of the Artemis Space Bridge Simulator as being at the helm of the Enterprise.  A way to get people to interact with each other and to get people to join in and play together. http://artemis.eochu.com/

19) Kitchens

Most kitchens make it difficult for more than two to three people to be present and work collaboratively on a meal. Giving more room to cook and making it such that each function of cooking can be done in more than one place (modular appliances/spaces) could increase the social interaction. Using an island-like design, for example, there could be two ovens open to multiple sides.

20) Driving/Commuting to work

Most people who commute to work via their own vehicles do so alone. Although there is already a movement toward car-pooling a public transit, the truth is there are still people who will be driving alone. While stuck in traffic, there should be a way to socialize with all of the other losers stuck in traffic around you. Whether it be outside games or posts that update based on what you do in your car, or if the cars could connect to one another and encourage some form of information sharing.

21) Exercising

When most people hit the gym they pop in their headphones and ignore everything outside of their bubble. If people were encouraged to interact with one another, not only would they be more likely to try harder but they would also likely come back more often. Some gyms are separated by male and female-centric equipment, making customers more comfortable. If highly focused groups were further divided, gym-goerscould form some kind of bond with those in the same sub-group and in turn grow more confident in themselves. Other ideas include displaying your current weight and reps to everyone.

22) Wrist Watch

Forget the calculator, let’s add some twitter updates to that time-keeper! By utilizing a small screen on the watch, the most recent Twitter feed could scroll through on your watch. The watch would have a specialized code to allow it to sync with your personal Twitter account. Or perhaps the concept of asking someone with a watch “what time is it?” can be expanded. If people knew that a certain watch provided more information than just the time (such as sports results, news, temperature, etc), then they would be encouraged to ask people with the watch about this information.

23) Media Players

Normally when you see someone walking around with a set of headphones on, you tend to avoid them. What if, by using your own device, you could see what they were listening to? The system could be turned off if desired, but would encourage people to socialize if they noticed that someone liked a similar artist.

24) Digital Wall

It’s been pretty interesting to see how Facebook has ushered in the use of a wall like a bulletin board. Is it possible to integrate the digital and the real? Based on the idea of the SmartBoard, the Wall would take the place of a bulletin board in places like GT Housing and Greek housing. Members could “write” on the wall with a specialized pen, which would then be posted onto a special Facebook page specifically for that wall. Those on the internet could post on the Wall as well.

25) Umbrellas

It’s difficult for two people to share an umbrella, and then walk together under it. One could design an umbrella that can attach to other umbrellas, this way when multiple people are walking in close proximity, their umbrellas could attach to one another creating even better coverage from the rain.

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All of us decided almost unanimously that Exercising was the most interesting idea. 2nd and 3rd place went to the ideas Media Player and TV Streaming/ Theater. You can see some of the notes we took as well as the accompanying sketches/ storyboards below: the images are small and difficult to read: please click the images if you would like to examine them closer.

1) Exercising

– Networking makes exercising more interactive among fellow exercisers

– People could play tag via the treadmill

– Teams could race against each other

– Virtual reality sphere

– Trivia game?

2) Media Players

– You can broadcast what you are listening to

– You can ask to listen to samples from other people’s MP3 players

– Idea possibly similar to ITune’s Ping?

– Karaoke: and broadcast it live 😄

– Display what song you are playing on your headphones

3) TV Streaming/ Theater

– Highlight/ comment on video while watching

– Live comment/video of friends in the virtual room while watching show together

– Encourage those in the theater to interact via interactive film?

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