LOME is an interactive home decoration. It consists of a flower-shaped decoration with six LED petals and a sprout. Flower petals can show red or green lights which represents the amount of negative or positive expression recognized. Green petals represent a harmonious and positive family environment while red petals represents anger and negative. The specific amount of red petals will trigger the function that encourages the user to express and communicate.
LOME’s target user is the family that wants to communicate better and improve family functioning. We aim to encourage positive and healthy communication between family members and remind users not to bring the negative emotion from outside to home.
People’s behaviour and mental condition are influenced by their family environment, their experiences, and their sense of themselves. The maintenance of relations under the same roof is a subject that everyone needs to keep learning and to try.
Conversation between family members is an effective method to enable the emotion expression and most profound feeling communication. The family environment is influenced by the way how people communicate at home. The negative emotion can be released by properly talking to family. Also, the emotion people bring from their life outside of houses such as work and study also plays a vital role in family functioning. Not to improperly mix the negative emotion from outside with family life is the key to maintain a positive family environment.
The part I am focusing on is the "boundary" function. The "boundary" is set between work/study (outside) and home. Here, LOME is working as a reminder to user that he/she has got home and he/she should not bring the negative emotion from outside to home.
Three petals are a group. The negative answer can make a group of petals turn red, while the positive answer make it green.
Meamwhile, when there are multiple family members, the second one who get home can see the condition of flower. Different colour conditions represent the emotion of the family member who got home before. It can potencially encourages more family conversation.
The DFPlayer Mini is a small and low cost MP3 module player with a simplified output directly to the speaker. I connected this module with a speaker so it can play the mp3 files.
I chose this module because it does not need prior recording or any software on the PC. It provides me with the single-chip speech recognition solution. With the keywords I set in the codes, LD3320 can recognize and match with the keywords and trigger the operation.
The material of the design consists of three parts:
A metal flowerpot which can store the Arduino pieces inside.
2. Artificial flower
Dacron material artificial flower which I took the petals parts off.
3. Plastic resin petals
The plastic resin is malleable under high temperature. I used it to shape the petals which the LED light can fit inside.
User testing - Observation & Interview
There are two design lifecycles in my design process with two physical prototypes. I conducted user testing on both prototypes.
In the first prototype testing, which there is no physical mock-up, only the Arduino pieces. I invited three user to test. I observe their interaction porcess and take notes. After the interaction, I interviewd the users based on the performance.
Here are the key findings which contributed a lot to my second prototype design:
1. Cannot only set volume as a measurement element.
2. The feedback from the Arduino should have more varieties.
3. Expecting more interactions.
4. Do not know where to speak towards to during the interaction.
Impact on design
1. Instead of using one LED as feedback from the prototype, I uses six LED lights with two colours in the second prototype which provides more varieties.
2. Adding the mp3 module so the prototype can broadcast the recorded content which increase the interaction and creates the conversation interaction.
3. Volume is not a emotion measurement element as it cannot be judged as positive or negative emotions which are different from individual's preferences.
My final outcome meets most of my desired outcomes. My concept is to use my design to trigger a short conversation for user when they arrive home. The conversation is working as a boundary between outside and home which help to prevent user from brining negative emotion to home. Also, the condition of LOME (color) can give a hint to each family member about other’s emotion condition.
In my final product, voice command “I’m home” can successfully trigger the feedback from LOME. The color of petals can correctly change corresponding change based on what keywords user say. The function of voice recognition still need to be improved as the Arduino module requires quiet environment and strict pronounce. It causes the problem during the testing and exhibition that the voice command which contains the reliable keywords cannot be recognized at high sensitivity. This drawback further leads to low quality of user experience.