Simple Communication Through Connected Objects

Simple Communication Through Connected Objects

The School of Visual Arts' MFA in Interaction Design program has created a communication device that connects people without the use of words.

Kyle Studstill
  • 15 april 2010

Touchstone is a project out of the School of Visual Arts’ MFA in Interaction Design program. The interactive rock-like object senses when a user holds their hand around it, responding with a warm, colored glow on one of its halves. Each touchstone is part of a pair, which indicates when the other is being held with a similar glow on the other half. The project demonstrates a method for communicating that one user is thinking on the other in a simple, human manner, without the use of words.

The project creators explain below:

Whether just across town, or somewhere on the other side of the world, everyone in our studio has someone they care about deeply but see considerably less than they’d like. A number of mechanisms exist for sending composed messages to these people, in phone calls, emails, IMs, text messages, etc. But what about simply communicating “Thinking about you,” without the added overhead of words? The deceptively simple way a touch communicates that sentiment was the genesis of our Distant Touch concept, which evolved into the Touchstone.

Watch a video demonstration below:

Touchstone Demonstration from Jeff Kirsch on Vimeo.

SVA Interaction Design


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