Monday, July 30, 2007

The SynchroMate

The SynchroMate fits snuggly in the palm of one's hand (...) it encourages serendipitous synchronous interaction by indicating when a message is being composed for you by a distant companion through gentle vibrations and pulsing concentric circles of lush colors on the display

SynchroMate: A Phatic Technology for Mediating Intimacy, by Martin R. Gibbs, Steve Howard, Frank Vetere, Marcus Bunyan (2006)

By and large interaction design has been concerned with information exchange - technologies for the collection, processing and transmission of informational content. This design sketch discusses preliminary ideas about an alternative way to think about interactive technologies - phatic technologies - that are less concerned with capturing and communicating information and more about the establishment and maintenance of social connection. Drawing on insights and inspiration gleaned from a recent field-based study of the role of interactive technologies within intimate relationships we outline our preliminary ideas concerning technologies to support phatic interaction. Using materials collected during our fieldwork as design inspirations, we developed design sketches for phatic technologies intended to support playful connection between intimates. One of these sketches - SynchroMate - is presented. SynchroMate is a phatic technology designed to mediate intimacy by affording serendipitous synchronous exchanges.

Full case study

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