Many of the projects this year not only allowed for a great user experience, but also promoted an element of social interaction. The added notion of inclusion to the design concept made the scope of those affected by the project considerably broader and offered the user a degree of communal intimacy. Here are some of the projects that explored the potentials of inclusion.
"My idea was not to make a traditional prosthetic, but to propose a system that was flexible enough for kids to use, hack and create with by themselves and with their friends," explains Carlos Arturo Torres. "Using the LEGO system was part of this solution, not just because of its creative content, but most of it its social feature; this is a toy that gathers people around with a single goal: the pride of creation, but in this scenario I found that it transcends to a higher level."
Through a collaborative platform, Carlos Arturo Torres' IKO empowers disabled children to create their own prosthetics, turning a disadvantage into something fun. "It's all about kids being kids," he says. While developing the flexible system that would allow this participatory design, he was thinking of the transformative effect it could have on disabled children's psychological state. "What if 'normal' kids could understand disability in from a different perspective? Maybe they could empathize instead of being afraid of something they don't know. What if they could all share, learn and create all together using play as a means?"
HugMatch consists of baby dolls and mother dolls, all made out of different materials with varying textures. Players put the mother dolls around their neck and search for the matching baby doll while keeping their eyes—in this way, the toy caters to both visually impaired and non-visually impaired children and promotes the tactile sense.
HugMatch is an interactive toy for both visually impaired and non-visually impaired young children to play together under the same terms. Without looking, children are asked to find a match for their doll by using their sense of touch and sound. Throughout the amicable game, children are encouraged to help each other our and collaborate to meet their goals. "This project looks at how play and a toy could be used to build empathy with two kids. It was nice to see that as the research unfolded and multiple visits were had with the children, the insights gleaned were nicely incorporated into the design iterations of the toy," remarked our jury.
Silvia Neretti's first case study, Ingrid, was seeking a renewed connection with her surroundings after going through a divorce. "I feel like I am part of the storage, I am collecting dead memories instead of having the courage to change," she said. After careful observations of Ingrid's home environment, Neretti created a series of "artifacts" that would encourage Ingrid to modify her behavioral patterns. One of them, the iPhone Chastity Belt (pictured above) is a case for Ingrid's phone that prevents her from using the phone and instead provides a day's schedule of "real interactions."
Silvia Neretti—the self-proclaimed "Unhappiness Repairer"—embarked on a journey to transform people's lives by creating disruptive alterations to their environment that provoke a different perspective and ultimately instill more positive behaviors and habits. "Happiness to me lies in the intention of knowing your self purposes, desires and needs, being aware and independent from external conditions," she says. "To design happiness to me means to push people to get back the agency of modifying their "unhappy" context, creating a space to understand the problem and develop a new and personal meaning of happiness as suggestions to follow. I delegate this actions to the artifacts already present in the context, by modifying their script of action."
There are a variety of use cases for goTenna, including: camping, hiking, skiing; emergency situations; music festivals; international travel—essentially any time you might be outside of a reliable network or trying to avoid hefty roaming charges. The goTenna has an extendable antenna for larger range and a flexible strap for easy fastening to a variety of objects.
goTenna is a new means of off-grid communication that pairs wirelessly with your smartphone and allows users to text and share their location with anyone who also has the device, even in areas of no reception. "This is a game changing device. A typical two-way radio is a limited tool designed for a select group of outdoor enthusiast users. All conversations are verbal, and not private. goTenna is designed and engineered to appeal to enthusiast groups as well as a wider audience...meant to live at the intersection of performance and lifestyle," explains the designers. They are currently working on developing the project with international relief agencies, such as Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF.