Tasked with creating a "social smart object," we collectively came up with goals and values as a team that would guide us through our design and decision making process:

  • Leverage social media data to encourage face-to-face interactions and get people away from their phones
  • Reduce the "noise" of extraneous social media information
As an interactive object, we wanted the Ticker to have a bit of personality.  So, in addition to the code words, it can display smileys and expressions, like "Hello" and "zZz."

As an interactive object, we wanted the Ticker to have a bit of personality.  So, in addition to the code words, it can display smileys and expressions, like "Hello" and "zZz."

In our most refined prototype, the Ticker's 7 wheels are all powered by a servo motor and an Arduino.

In our most refined prototype, the Ticker's 7 wheels are all powered by a servo motor and an Arduino.

The Ticker's analog form is inspired by the traditional analog split-flap display board used in train stations.  Heightened by the unique sound and movement of their cards flapping, these display boards have a way of gathering people together in public spaces - which is something we hoped our Ticker would do.  Additionally, we believe its simple form would serve as a meaningful counterpart to today's smart and complex devices.

The Ticker's analog form is inspired by the traditional analog split-flap display board used in train stations.  Heightened by the unique sound and movement of their cards flapping, these display boards have a way of gathering people together in public spaces - which is something we hoped our Ticker would do.  Additionally, we believe its simple form would serve as a meaningful counterpart to today's smart and complex devices.

For our idea, we took inspiration particularly from Google Now, which understands the user's contextual needs and shows relevant information and recommendations when they need it in the form of "cards."   Similarly for the Ticker, we envisioned that it would contextual and relevant conversation starter topics to participants in a social setting in the form of code words.

For our idea, we took inspiration particularly from Google Now, which understands the user's contextual needs and shows relevant information and recommendations when they need it in the form of "cards."   Similarly for the Ticker, we envisioned that it would contextual and relevant conversation starter topics to participants in a social setting in the form of code words.

A system diagram we created for the Ticker

A system diagram we created for the Ticker

To test if our idea of social media-generated code words would work, we conducted user tests.  Pairs and groups of 3 were given a customized code words, based on similarities we personally found from their social media accounts.  The participants found it to be engaging, enjoyable, and sensible - a confirmation that this method of starting conversations would work well in real party/social settings today.

To test if our idea of social media-generated code words would work, we conducted user tests.  Pairs and groups of 3 were given a customized code words, based on similarities we personally found from their social media accounts.  The participants found it to be engaging, enjoyable, and sensible - a confirmation that this method of starting conversations would work well in real party/social settings today.

TICKER

SMART OBJECTS

The Ticker is a smart split-flap display that uses social media data to socially connect people.

This is how it works:
-Up to 3 users can tap their phone to the object to "opt" in and have their Twitter and Facebook accounts synced
-Connected to the cloud, the Ticker will parse through all of the users' data and find commonalities and shared interests among them and generate a 7-letter code word.
-Intentionally cryptic, yet somehow relevant to all involved, the code word will prompt participants to talk to each other and figure out what it is they have in common with each other.

With a built-in microphone, the Ticker gauges surrounding noise levels and will display words more frequently at moments when the noise level is low and conversations are at a lull.

This was created with Eliz Ayaydin and Brandon Washington from the SVA Products of Design Department and under the direction of Carla Diana.


PROCESS

Tasked with creating a social smart object, we first looked to a variety of other social apps and products for inspiration.

We sketched 50+ ideas before arriving at our final conversation starter piece.

Prototype 1.  We considered adding icons, like a hashtag of fork and knife, to give hints for what each code word means. 

Prototype 2. Our first try at connecting the wheel with a servo motor.

Prototype 3: more flaps and more vertical support

Prototype 4: 7 wheels!

We printed sticker letters that were then transferred onto the flaps.