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. . 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.

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.


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 XD

– 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?


About foldingwishes

I am a 3rd year CM major interested in animation and narratology. I believe that design is important and highly applicable to all fields and that good design creates enjoyable experiences. My favorite shows are Samurai Jack, My Life as a Teenage Robot and Avatar the Last Airbender and my favorite movies are Le Grande Chef, Ratatouille and the Great Mouse Detective.
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