I am currently a software engineer at Leap Motion. I have a Master's in Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Robotics from Olin College of Engineering. Previously, I've been a roboticist, a dance instructor, a front-end developer and an IP litigation consultant.

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Whether across town or across the world, it can be difficult to keep in touch with distant friends and loved ones. TouchStone extends your reach to bring you the same sense of peace and togetherness you get when you are with them.

Simply exchange beads to stay connected, even when apart. Just touch their bead, and their bracelet will light up, wherever they are. If they touch your bead, your bracelet will light up in return, letting you know that you are in their thoughts as well.

Process

In our studio class, we were tasked with leveraging breakthroughs in ubiquitous and social computing to design a device which would enhance tranquility, togetherness and a sense of the divine.

We began with an extensive research phase, interviewing 11 people across a variety of religions and belief systems and went on site visits to a number of places of worship around Pittsburgh.

affinity diagram

We compiled our results in an affinity diagram and extracted the emerging trends:

  • Religion helps me feel connected with a community.
  • Religion improves my mood.
  • Religion relaxes me physically and mentally.
  • Prayer helps me find direction.
  • Religion helps me understand and deal with the world around me.
  • Religion helps me come to terms with my limitations.

brainstorming

We ran a brainstorming session to quickly generate 100 ideas, then ran a round of excellence voting to narrow our ideas down. We took these top ideas and created a series of storyboards based on each one.

We put our storyboards through a series of speed-dating sessions and used the feedback we received to narrow our concept list down to three ideas:

  • Tracking good/bad deeds and influencing people to be better.
  • Connecting to community.
  • Helping to concentrate on meditation.

We made a second round of storyboards around these concepts, put those in front of our potential users, and finally used excellence voting among the team to select our top idea: Connecting to the community.

We chose this because we saw a pattern in our feedback across religions that people wanted to know when someone they cared about was thinking about them or praying for them.

"It would really boost my day if I got a message that someone was praying for me."
"I like to think they can hear my prayers."

We created TouchStone to fill this need and help people to connect their thoughts and prayers remotely.