An Experience Driven Design Project
Lois Frankel, Associate Director
School of Industrial Design, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
In the fall of 2001, sixteen industrial design students were asked to each design a device that could enhance telepathic communication between people. An introduction to the background that led to the assignment places it in the context of current work from the Affective Computing Lab at MIT and current work on wearable computing.
The main objectives of this assignment were to introduce the students to the concepts of designing for experience and designing interactive devices. Given a definition of telepathy and the technology, could they design telepathic devices that target specific user needs, and enhance the user’s abilities to share their emotions and improve their interpersonal communication? The technology enablers and the interface features for the devices are defined and the project parameters are discussed. The students’ initial behavior research objectives and results are described: these set the stage for the design concepts that evolved. The resulting devices are presented. They ranged from stress reducing assists to relationship building tools. The discussion concludes with observations about the context of the project and lessons learned from this project.