Surface Connection

The Internet allows individuals to come together on personal issues. I can type ‘I’m feeling sad and I don’t know why’ into Google, sure to get numerable responses to the same topic. Chatrooms, forums, Facebook statuses, Twitter tweets, websites, and so on all allow an outlet in return for a response via a digitised medium. It is an instant comforting tool, where advice can be given and conversations had with far away friends or strangers, about issues of human sameness.

The anonymity provided by the virtual domain could be considered a modern-day confession box. Being able to share your feelings, seeking advice against tormenting thoughts, or searching a cure for an embarrassing illness, are all important facets of our personal histories that we wish share yet remain private. So how as a designer could I develop comforting connections between individuals, more effectively than a Google search bar?

Featured on  PSFK

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My Proposal:
Create a physiological connection to the Internet using galvanic skin response and heart rate to detect emotion levels of users. This works in conjunction with information retrieval software to convey real-time messages of a similar emotional state back to an independent device, separate from a computer screen, and personalisable by the touch of the user.

As the use of skin-conductance measurement provides a relatively superficial reading of your emotional state, this prototype can only respond to your physical emotional response, but at its core, the concept pertains to a human requirement of psychological connectivity. Knowing that you are not alone. This is something the internet can provide, but could live separately from our existing understanding of a computer screen.

In conceiving this project it was important to me to move emotional response technology out of the hands of marketing agencies and into the domestic realm.


Img. 2 & 3  – Working prototype  
Img. 1,4,5,6,7  – Concept prototypes