master thesis project —
Enriching remote communication using mobile technology
one semester, full-time
In response to the consequences of social distancing caused by the
pandemic, we looked for new ways of creating a sense of
“togetherness” with another person whilst in social isolation. The
findings of this search manifested itself in a product called
Azalea is a smartphone-based design that consist of a bespoke app and a tactile cushion which envelops the phone. A pair of Azaleas can be used to remotely connect two people through an enriched phone call. Azalea differentiates itself from a conventional phone or video call by immersing the user in an environment diminished from distractions, creating space for a co-experience that focuses on tactility and motion.
The inanimate cushion is brought to life by sliding in the phone. Doing so, the user ‘sacrifices’ the phone, which becomes the driver behind the communication. The app automatically activates, initiating the call and enabling the flashlight which projects light through cut-out shapes into the user’s direct environment. Azalea adapts its colour, shining through a pattern, according to the user’s speech, and enables its users to steer a soundscape of natural sounds driven by motion. Our users affirmed that hearing the other person move added a sense of presence to the conversation.
Through Azalea, we aim to inspire the public and fellow designers to creatively leverage the – often untapped – capabilities that can be found in each smartphone.
Interaction Design - Chalmers University of Technology
In collaboration with
RISE Interactive Institute
Mehmet Aydın Baytaş - Design Researcher
Exhibitions and publications
Dutch Design Week 2020
CHI 2021 Paper
Sjoerd Hendriks, Simon Mare, Mafalda Samuelsson-Gamboa, & Mehmet
Aydın Baytaş (2021)
Azalea: Co-experience in Remote Dialog through Diminished Reality and Somaesthetic Interaction Design
In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’21)
MobileHCI 2020 Demo
Simon Mare, Sjoerd Hendriks, Mehmet Aydın Baytaş, & Mafalda
Azalea: Co-experiencing Embodied Information in Remote Communication
In Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI 2020)
© Sjoerd Hendriks All rights reserved.