A family of products designed to enhance the communication experience for couples in long distance relationships.
HP Sync & Harmony
IxD for Consumer Products HP-Sponsored studio. HP Inc. & ArtCenter partnered up for one semester to conceptualize and design a more intuitive & connected computing experience. The mission is to redefine communication and interactivity with a human centric approach.
This project was worked on by an amazing team of four. Our scope was to use the power of computing to design a better communication experience for couples in committed, long-distance relationships.
Ofir Atia Industrial Design
Calvin Lien Industrial Design
Serena Jorif Motion Graphics
Alice Yu Graphic Design
The Problem With Current Technology
Technology changed the way we communicate regarding tools we use. But it also has changed the how we communicate on a personal level. We live in a world mediated by addictive screens that distract us from what really matters.
The screen based thinking trend has everyone asking "what app can we make?" There are over 2.2 Billion apps in the app store today and this number is drastically growing every year. We can access these apps on our "anywhere anytime device" and these apps are designed to grab out attention for as long as possible.
Why Design for Long Distance?
In the U.S 14 million couples define themselves as having a long distance relationship. And 10% of all marriages started out long distance.
The way we see it is simple. No Communication = No Relationship. These are individuals who rely on communication everyday and we can learn a lot from this audience. Technology has made these relationships possible but certainly not easy.
We interviewed real couples.
And Discovered Real Insights.
Technology lacks emotion, intimacy and feels unnatural at times.
In order for couples to grow they need to experience new things together and have a physical presence in each others lives.
Small daily gestures of love add up and create a sense of connection, meaning and happiness.
Create a device that embraces the way we communicate naturally and aims to create a more intimate experience. Create an experience where technology is embedded into our lives rather than distracting us away from what really matters.
Sync is a device that redefines communication for couples. With its interactive surface users can notify and receive availability and share intimate moments throughout the day.
We are following Dylan and Lily. They’re in a long distance relationship and together, they use Harmony and Sync to enhance communication across the distance.
Dylan is starting his day in LA, while Lily is already at work in New York.
Before Dylan leaves for work, he takes his keys and he takes Sync and he leaves his apartment in Downtown.
While walking to work, Dylan is thinking about Lily
He removes Sync from his pocket
And he interacts with Sync, pressing down on the surface.
In New York, Lily is hard at work.
But she notices that the surface on her Sync device has changed.
Dylan has caused a reaction on Lily’s Sync and the surface has raised. So, Lily interacts with Sync, pressing down on the raised surface.
Together, Dylan and Lily are interacting with each other non-verbally. This is a key moment when phones are down and they are both thinking of each other.
Dylan arrives at work. He’s very busy meeting with clients.
The conversation is very important and he can not be interrupted.
Dylan takes a second to change his availability. He uses two fingers to press down on sync which activates a raised “switch-like” surface. By pressing down on the raised surface, Dylan is signaling that he is unavailable. Sync verifies his unavailable status with a fully raised surface before returning back to its normal state.
They’re both unavailable at the moment, and both Sync devices are in their resting state.
Dylan leaves work later that afternoon.
As he walks home, he wants to notify Lily that he is available to chat.
He holds two fingers down on sync which activates “switch-like” the surface. By pressing down on the raised surface, Dylan is signaling that he is available. Sync verifies his available status with a sub-surface indent before returning back to its normal state.
Lily is also available to talk. The two Sync devices have matching availability.
Both Dylan and Lily are notified with a wave-form pattern on Sync’s surface. The wave form triggers a slight vibration in Sync.
They find the perfect window to talk. Lily calls Dylan and they have a quick chat on the phone. Lily tells Dylan that she is also on her way home. They agree to watch a movie together later that night.
Dylan arrives home.
He places his Sync next to Harmony.
When Sync is in proximity to Harmony, the device exits sleep mode and welcomes the user home.
The interface lands on a screen, revealing the time, date and current temperature, as well as navigation to music, television and video chat features.
Lily arrives home.
She places Sync next to Harmony.
Harmony exits sleep mode and welcomes Lily home. It displays the home screen.
Both Dylan and Lily's sync devices are set to available. Both of their home are now activated. Harmony notifies the users by displaying a screen with both their names. This screen notifies Dylan and Lily that their homes are now connected through audio.
Dylan is notified of their connection and begins speaking to Lily.
Lily access Harmony’s interface
Lily access Harmony’s interface
She finds the song she wants to play
Harmony prompts Lily to play the song on her sound system or to send the song to Dylan.
Harmony prompts Lily to play the song on her sound system or to send the song to Dylan media system.
She sends the song to Dylan
Dylan hears the song that Lily selected. At this moment they are able to listen to this music and talk to each other as if they were in the same room.
He accesses Harmony’s interface.
From the home screen, he selects the video call feature
Dylan wait for Lily to answer his call. He can see a small window of himself in the lower half of the screen.
The two appear on screen and begin to talk catch up on each others day. Dylan and Lily are still on for that movie.
As Dylan and Lily Video chat, Dylan moves about the room
Harmony rotates on its base to follow Dylan’s movements. This feature was designed to make communication more natural in the home.
Dylan wants to take Lily into another room so they can decide on a movie.
He lifts Harmony from its base and transfers the device to another room.
Dylan sits down in his living room while Lily picks out something on netflix for them.
Lily ends the video call, but their home audio is still synchronized.
They begin to talk about what they're in the mood to watch. Lily accesses Harmony’s interface.
From the home screen she selects the tv screen icon
Dylan and Lily browse movie after movie but finally settle on the show Black Mirror. She shares the movie with Dylan and their TV screens are mirrored.
The movie begins to play on both Dylan and Lily’s Television sets. Dylan and Lily are watching the movie as if they are in the same space.
I'm Ofir Atia, a product designer based in Los Angeles.