A family of products designed to enhance the communication experience for couples in long distance relationships.
User Experience / Interaction Design
Sync & Harmony
A family of tools designed to enhance the communication experience for couples in long distance relationships. Sync is a small, intimate device created to ensure couples stay connected through out the day, and Harmony is an in-home device designed to synchronies couples living spaces and feel as if they were together under the same roof.
About Sync & Harmony
IxD for Consumer Products HP-Sponsored studio. HP Inc. & ArtCenter partnered up for one semester to redefine communication and interactivity with a human centric approach and conceptualize a more intuitive and connected computing experience.
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 Product Design Visual Design
Calvin Lien Industrial Design Art Direction
Alice Yu Graphic Design Interaction Design
Serena Jorif Motion Design Storyboarding
Create a more intimate communication experience using technology and embrace the way we naturally communicate. Create a unique product solution where where technology is embedded into our lives rather than distracting us away from what really matters - our loved ones.
See the research and insights that drove this project and our process and development of Sync & Harmony.
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.
Sync Product Design
We wanted the user to have flexibility with sync. Users have the option to wear it, or simple carry it in their pocket.
Interaction Design & Gestures
Sync’s interactive surface allows users to communicate with the device throughout the day. This responsive surface has a “skin-like” texture as if you were pressing into another finger and has jelly-like properties. When both users are pressing into the surface at the same time it becomes responsive and they can interact with each other mirroring gestures.
This creates a unique way to communicate without their phones. At this moment they are both thinking of each other at the same time. Its a simple gesture of saying "I'm thinking about you." This is a moment only they can experience. Not a text or a phone call but a gentle touch.
Sync Section View: User 1 pushes down on surface
Sync Section View: User 2’s sync device surface raises.
With a simple two finger tap gesture users are able to share their availability throughout the day with their partner. The surface turns into a switch form allowing users to change their status from available to unavailable throughout the day. If both user's are available the surface will ripple and send out a small haptic vibration.
This features doesn't necessarily change the way we talk, but instead when we talk. Even if it's just 10-15 minutes after a meeting both users are notified and can find the perfect opportunity to chat. This creates a relationship with less stress and pressure to plan and more spontaneity. No phone tag, no fragmented texts, but instead capitalizing on small windows of time for meaningful conversations.
The Key to Harmony
Using near field communication Harmony detects if Sync is available or unavailable when user arrives home. If both users Sync's are set to available in their homes then their living spaces will synchronize and all IOT devices will activate.
If user's need their privacy and space they can set it to unavailable and their homes will not activate.
Harmony is an in-home device that allows couples to synchronize their living spaces, creating a more natural way to communicate as if they were together in the same room.
Harmony is an in-home device that allows couples to synchronize their living spaces as if they were together in the same room. In the near future, we envision every household will be seamlessly connected with IoT devices. Speakers, TVs, Kitchen appliances, smart blinds ect..
Harmony utilizes these devices by allowing couples to access each others devices to create a better long-distance experience. Harmony has built in features allowing them to video call, chat hands-free throughout the house, cook dinner together, watch movies and play music for each other. These are key moments that allow couples to grow and build new exepriences relationships to continue to grow and build a stronger connection.
It was important to design something that not just fits in a home, but belongs in one.
Harmony Product Design
Design & Display
The 7 x 3.5-inch OLED display screen follows the organic curves of the housing. We've added a slight 60 degree angle to the screen to enhance viewing when the device sits on a table top. The speakers are elegantly hidden behind the screen allowing the unique design to create directional sound, increasing the sound quality for the user.
Users are not limited to connecting to screens at home, with Harmony they can project on any wall in their home. Users essentially have access to two screens displaying different content. For example, users can browse for a movie on Netflix on their Harmony screen, while a movie trailer plays on the TV connected TV or Rear Projector.
A nonintrusive mute button is programmable, with a touch of a button can mute select home devices.
Harmony can be lifted from the charging dock and be taken anywhere in the home. The dock has a secondary feature that rotates the device when motion tracking is enabled on video calling.
Front facing camera
No more propping up a phone and stepping out of frame. In order to enable a more natural way to communicate we've added powerful sensors that enable motion tracking when video calling.
Harmony's interface has access to which IoT devices are connected. And selected apps that can be connected such as Netflix and Spotify.
Warm and Intimate
Users can access and control these devices in their home as well as their partners. The vibrant colors and motion of the home screen bring life into the home and represents your significant other.
A Day With Sync & Harmony
Creating the experience
Storyboard to illustrate a day in the life using Sync & Harmony.
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.