Developing a visual language to provide an ambient sense of companionship remotely


Ryan and Alison are in a long-distance relationship. They both have Winki near their beds. Their sleep trackers and lamps are connected over the Internet. Today Alison is home all day. It is evening and Ryan walks into his house. The device at Ryan’s house detects his presence and lights up Alison’s lamp. She notices that and learns that he is home now.

The lamp at Ryan's is already lit up as she is at home all day. Now Alison is about to sleep. Lamp at Ryan’s starts to get sleepy. Lamp at Alison's is all lit up as Ryan is still working. He notices that she is sleepy and doesn’t want to keep her up. So he turns off his laptop and goes to bed. 

1. Concept


Abstract human-like characteristics integrated into objects can communicate deeper meaning.

Material and phenomenal qualities of an object’s design can afford a powerful medium for representing the presence and activity of other loved people. 

2. Visual Langauge Design
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The inspiration to generate language for machines providing companionship comes from the most loyal companion known mankind.

Machines can communicate through their inherent affordances. With the example of a lamp, the lighting effects can communicate the presence of the machine.

Lamp States

The attempt was to simulate the sleep-filled eyes of a pet. A series of LED strips were arranged in a sequence and controlled individually to produce a similar effect. The video documentation of the lamp does not do justice to the final effect produced.

3. Iteration #1

The bedside companion night lamp - Winki - synchronizes with your sleep quality tracker. It learns your sleep cycle and develops sensitivity to your sleep activities. It gently reminds you to sleep by making sleepy gestures.

0. Conceptualization Process Notes