The Story Machine: Reconnecting Dispersed Families
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    What defines a family? While there are many answers to this question, there is one partial answer that resonates strongly for many – shared exper… Read More
    What defines a family? While there are many answers to this question, there is one partial answer that resonates strongly for many – shared experience and the sharing of experience which, over time, becomes shared history. This concept provides a way for families to reconnect, share and preserve important stories and shared histories while sparking interactions they might not have otherwise had because of their physical separation and independent daily experiences. Read Less
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Problem summary:
How might we enhance a dispersed family’s ability to connect and experience emotional intimacy? As people become more mobile, extended families are forced to span greater distances, reducing opportunities to bond through shared experiences.
 
Role:
Experience designer, strategist
 
Project timeframe:
Inter-session: four days
 
Collaborators:
Raph D’Amico, Russell Flench, Kwame Green
 
Key insights:
1.Shared memories and stories are cornerstones of the family bonds.
2. Increased separation decreases opportunities  to share experiences.
3. Objects and photos can have rich memories and stories associated with them and can be used for recollection of stories that might otherwise go untold.
 
 
Design principles:
1. Encourage sharing of untold stories 
2. Encourage shared experiences across a distance
3. Allow for active and passive engagement 
Design concept:
Stripping everything else away, oral history has been the time-tested means of sharing family experiences. Developed in an Institute of Design intersession course, our prototype was built around the idea of being a catalyst for live video conversations.
 
After a series of focused explorations, our team concluded that the essential components for allowing family members to share history and develop richer emotional connections was to help them actively and passively share the experience of reminiscing, both live and retrospectively.  
 
Our concept focuses on how to allow family members curate collections of memory artifacts such as photos and videos and connect them with stories told by individuals in their family network. 
Those stories are captured live through a video-chat interface that makes it easy for users to capture and highlight key segments while connecting the recording segments to specific pictures/memory artifacts. 
When not in use for the active video-chat/story telling activities, this concept app runs in a passive mode which presents an evolving display of photos/memory artifacts, displayed simultaneously to all members of the family network through tablet, computers or dedicated display devices designed to take the place of traditional framed photos.