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Tofu_process


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Tofu_process


Exploring sound interfaces

Could simple sound nudges help establish better habits?

Designing sound interfaces
with Marcel, Regi and Zihao | 2 weeks

Habit change is tricky business. Often we fail in our goals because we act in isolation. But according to research, we are more likely to reach our goals when we act with a community, or when there are others concerned.

What if a connected object could act as a medium to transfer deeper human attributes, such as care and concern for someone?

Tofu was born as a result of a 2-week sound design course at Umeå Institute of Design. Whilst sounds are used as reminders of people's own goals in habit formation, its crucial feature lies in acting as a mediator. Tofu aims to embody the concern a person (the 'giver') feels for someone close (the 'receiver'), which then would motivate in reaching a given goal (a habit).


Skills: Product lifecycle design, IoT

Tutors: Stefan Lindberg (Interaction Design Institute Piteå), Thomas Degn (Advanced Product Design programme director), Parag Deshpande (Senior lecturer in IxD)

 

The concept

Following progress

Tofu is connected to objects and devices that are relevant to the habit.

Tofu is connected to objects and devices that are relevant to the habit.

Tofu relies on the Internet of Things. In order for Tofu to know whether the user is carrying our activities related to the goal, it needs to be connected to the relevant objects. Based on the data it receives from the objects, it gives appropriate feedback to the user about their behaviour.

 

 

 

The Tofu life-cycle

After 30-days have passed Tofu is passed on to the next person in need of a habit change. It is estimated that 30-days is in many cases sufficient for the adoption of a new habit.

After 30-days have passed Tofu is passed on to the next person in need of a habit change. It is estimated that 30-days is in many cases sufficient for the adoption of a new habit.

Tofu cannot be owned by anyone for longer than 30-days. Here is an example:

Tom decides to get a Tofu for Suzy. She wants to start meditating every morning. Tom configures Tofu according to Suzy's goal and chooses an appropriate personality.

Tofu is connected to Suzy's meditation app, and will remind her if she forgets to practise. If she remembers, Tofu becomes happy.

After the 30-days have passed, it's time for Suzy to choose who might need Tofu next.

 
 
 

Methods

 

Exploratory research

Surveying soundscapes

We began by looking at people's everyday soundscapes to get inspiration for possible 'sound design' interventions. All respondents could not pick out anything that stood out as a strong sound memory of their previous day. Apart from moments of interaction with other people, whether it was in the form of a lecture or discussions, people found it hard to describe other auditory events better than white noise.

My interpretation of how memories are formed.  When we deviate from monotony, we are more likely to remember these events later in life. New experiences create 'hooks' into the fabric of our memory, which we can recall better than periods of monotony (i.e. few or no hooks).

My interpretation of how memories are formed.

When we deviate from monotony, we are more likely to remember these events later in life. New experiences create 'hooks' into the fabric of our memory, which we can recall better than periods of monotony (i.e. few or no hooks).

Ideation and concept development


 

Reflection

Why a physical product?

The reasoning behind opting for a physical, stand-alone product - instead of an app - is mainly rooted in the idea of having a 'circulating gift'. Since we were aiming to create a way for people to take a serious attempt in changing their behaviour, using human relationships as the main instigator, we needed a medium that could serve as a physical embodiment of the relevant emotions. Apart from not being as easily transferable as a gift, we argue that an app would also lack the ability to communicate emotions in a meaningful manner.