Presence in Absence

Presence in Absence is a design exploration in the context of children and divorce. The final outcome is four concepts illustrating the possible ways for a child and parent to maintain the feeling of togetherness and connectedness when they are apart.

Music Moods

“Afternoons, the news. Doing the dishes, eighties pop. Bad day, heavy metal”. Music or listening to the radio can give subtle insight in to understanding moods and routines when living with someone. Music Moods is a pair of networked radios which show what the other person is listening to and also indicating if you are listening to the same channel, sharing a moment.

Probe ‘n’ Play
“I am bored! What should I do?” Children tend to be very active and do many different activities during a day. However every once in a while they run out of ideas on what to do and ask their parents to make something up. The parents usually name different possibilities until the child hear one they like. Probe ‘n’ Play mirrors this interaction using mobile phones to suggest and follow play. One example could be running from A to B as fast as possible, trying to improve the time, while the parent is the time keeper.

Our Link
“Did you have a nice day”? Having a sense of what the people closest to you have done during the day is one of the things that give us the feeling of closeness. When living with someone, you know their daily routine and can therefore spot when something might be wrong. Our Link is a pair of networked watches which aim at maintaining this everyday routine awareness between the child and the parent living outside the home.

Show ‘n’ Tell

“Look what I’ve made”! The children I have observed show great pride in showing off what they have made, what they can do and what their parents have brought or made for them. They seem to love to tell the story about the picture they have drawn or about their object – and more interested in the reaction to their story, rather than questions and comments from the viewer. With Show ‘n’ Tell children can share the drawing and the story behind it using their mobile phone and when the parent is available the child can see their reaction to each post as it will be captured with a webcam while viewing them.

What is the value?
The focus of this final project has been more on what we do instead of what we say. When no longer sharing a physical space, you miss out on the day-to-day, non-verbal communication which is a major part of being close to someone.