Showing all posts tagged social:

DVD Lets You Go on Virtual Dinner Date







For about $8, you can have a virtual date simply by watching a DVD. It’s called “Amateur Dinner Time - Let’s Eat Together." This DVD makes sense considering the population in Japan is slowly declining as increasing number of people are giving up marriage and sex (as known as "sekkusu shinai shokogun" or "celibacy syndrome"). And this product does indeed makes sense from both sociological and economically speaking -- by eliminating social anxiety associated with asking a girl out on a date and the responsibility of paying for dinner.



Relevant Article:

Office Furniture Designed to Improve Social Interaction



Invitation Chair by Alexander Bennett

"The Invitation Chair allows for the creation of a temporary shared space to collaborate, by allowing a user to share their seat with someone. The chair facilitates short bursts of interaction between two people who must focus their attention upon a computer screen while seated. By making it easier for workers to collaborate including the computer as a ‘third entity’. The Invitation Chair promotes a stronger workplace camaraderie and encourages creative thinking."




Social Furniture System by Richard Luo

"Workspace stress can interfere with productivity and impact both physical and emotional health. Creating social space for informal conversation and providing opportunities for social interaction among employees is a efficient way to release stress as well as enhance relationships with co-workers. This pie-shaped modular furniture concept is designed to empower and enable interactions in the office area while creating a sense of sharing. It has twelve pieces of identical sections that can be joined to create endless arrangements in a variety of shapes and functions as stools, side tables, footrests, or bookcases. They can be used as an intimate communication space, where employees could relax and share of information, encouraging creative thinking, as well as serving as an entertainment center to release workspace stress. The pie-shaped modular system is minimalist, with a clear and functional use of its essential form. The curved lip creates a minimal stacked system that prevents each piece from moving around when stacking on top of each other. It also forms a subtle edge, preventing things from rolling or sliding off from teh storage space. Additionally, the curved lip leaves a finger space at the bottom edge for people lifting piece when needed."

via PSFK

#tweet2voice: Sociolinguistic Experiment on Tweets



The origin of idea

During the middle of the night, I had an idea where Twitter users can include a special hashtag to have their tweets be read out loud by strangers. While it started merely as a novel idea, I believe this could provide an interesting way to transform a vast amount of text feed into human speech and add additional layer of information (such as emotional intelligence) that was not present before. Before I describe the idea further, here is the thought process I followed as I was building this.


Role of speech

Traditionally, speech function helps convey information and expressing social relationships that are outlined below:
  1. Expressive - express speaker's feelings
  2. Directive - get others to do things
  3. Referential - provide information
  4. Metalinguistic - comments on language
  5. Poetic - aesthetic language
  6. Phatic - language for solidarity and empathy

Where the inspiration came from

This experiment was partially inspired by a project I worked on called Audil, an environmental system for the visually impaired. One of the frustrations that we empathized with is that the blind people have virtually no choice when it comes to how information is disseminated to them. For example, computer speech synthesis software is used frequently throughout the day to absorb information and interact with the world. However, this technology also creates social disparity between the visually impaired and the people who are not. We felt that we can design technology in a way that brings people together rather than to simply subtitute human presence with technology.

Another inspiration came from an app called Umano. It's essentially an audiobook player app for blogs and it's very useful when your hands are preoccupied with complex tasks such as driving. Umano is a bit different than its competitor, SoundGecko, which utilizes server-sided dictation software to read articles and documents. Instead, Umano relies on professional voice actors and announcers to read the articles out loud. In terms of listening experience, computer algorithms of today still cannot compete with human's ability to fine-tune tonality, speed and pitch to make the content seemingly more interesting to our brain.


How it works
  1. Amazon Mechanical Turk worker reads instructions below.
  2. Worker opens Google Spreadsheet with latest tweets with hashtag #tweet2voice.
  3. Worker then calls toll-free number (VoIP) and reads the tweet out loud.
  4. Line2 voicemail notification email with MP3 attachment is sent.
  5. ITTT identifies email with attachment, places MP3 into Dropbox folder and then uploads MP3 to SoundCloud and Tumblr.
  6. Admin tweets SoundCloud link to the original Twitter user.

Instructions for Amazon Mechanical Turk

Summary: You will be calling a toll-free number and reading a statement out loud for the voicemail.
  1. Go to this link.
  2. Find a statement next to "No."
  3. Call the toll-free number 888-707-2925.
  4. When the voicemail beeps, begin reading the statement out loud. Please be expressive when speaking. You can simply read, exaggerate a bit or be emotional, angry, happy, funny, weird, etc.
  5. When completed, type replace "No" with "Yes" next to the statement you just spoke.
  6. Insert the current date and time (in Pacific Time Standard) under "Date & Time Submitted."
  7. Finally, check the box below and submit.
I have called the number and left a voicemail according to the instructions.

Family Gastronomic Voyeurism



It's fascinating to see many single households in South Korea turning to gastronomic voyeurism to substitute family dinner time. The activities/topics of this "virtual family dinner" - other than eating - include telling life stories, sharing philosophical perspectives, instructing how to make the perfect fertilizer with leftover food and reduce waste, mixing random foods together, discussing current events, feeding pet, etc. Just like how a real family would; but with a bit of personality and humor.

Relevant Article:

Benches that Encourage New Interactions












With their modification the spaces they inhabit become active rather than places of rest and solitude they foster exchange between the users and the passers by thus lending the work a social quality. Due to their alteration the benches end up somewhere between a dysfunctional object and a functional piece of furniture and thus point out the contradiction between artwork and functional object.