2019 Red Dot Design Award: Communication Design
2019 Adobe Design Achievement Awards:
Top Talent in Digital Products + Experiences
This project was developed for the classes UXDG 450-490, User Experience Senior Studio, under professor B.C. Hwang, in collaboration with fellow UX designers Sam Klein, Dan Benedict, and Meshal Almazyad. We were given free selection of a project topic. Over the course of 20 weeks, my team and I worked to develop our final solution: Felo, a childhood companion robot that allows children to learn empathy, responsibility, goal setting, and more in a controlled, unique setting while staying away from a screen.
Primary & Secondary Research
Visual Design Coordination
Iconography & Asset Design
Industrial Design Lead
3D Animator & Renderer
Children in our modern, digital age are heavily reliant on content and entertainment provided by digital services like tablets and the internet. Thus, they are not given appropriate opportunities to develop important personal and life skills away from a screen while still being in a controlled enough environment that their parents feel comfortable letting them operate without constant supervision.
Children are developing mindsets which prevent them from pushing through struggles, coupled with a worldwide shortcoming in physical activity.
Later in life, these mindsets and sedentary lifestyles are compounded by excessive “screen time” which is strongly correlates with anxiety, depression, and antisocial behaviors.
How might we…
create a solution that will help children of varying ages develop valuable skills such as empathy, responsibility, and goal setting while providing a similar experience of raising a pet, but without the maintenance?
An AI companion designed to help children learn empathy, responsibility, and physical activity through reactive expressions, an adaptive personality, and mobility-increasing add-ons.
How it Helps
Kids aged 2-5 should use screens for no more than 1 hour per day, but this number has been greatly surpassed.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Globally, 23% of adults and 81% of adolescents (age 11-17) do not meet the daily recommended amount of physical activity.
World Health Organization
Young people who spend seven hours a day or more using screens are more easily distracted, less emotionally stable, and had more problems finishing tasks and making friends compared to those that just spent one hour a day.
How might we foster a community of young individuals who know how to set and track progress towards goals?
How might we encourage physical activity in a young, digital generation while fostering new life experiences and empathy?
Felo is a partner who can help form healthy habits in early development as a tangible, empathetic companion.
Felo provides children a unique and positive experience away from any screens. It is catered to help every type of child, and adapts its responses and personality according to the child's actions and preferences. Felo gives more attention and responses when a child takes better care of it, just like a pet would, and encourages the development of empathy through its use of non-vocal noise responses and range of varied emotions.
Felo also follows the schedule of the child and provides certain responses at appropriate times. For example, if it's homework time, Felo will not urge the child to play. These schedules can be set in the parent app, which is designed to allow parents to view and somewhat control Felo's interactions with their child. As mentioned, they set the schedule of their child or children for Felo to know, but they can also set certain goals that will be reflected back on Felo through its "needs." For example, if the parent wants their child to get 30 minutes of playtime a day, Felo will "need" to play in order for that goal to be met. Parents will also get a report of their child's interactions and whether or not they are understanding and appropriately reacting to empathetic responses. This way, if their child needs help in a certain area, the parents are equipped with the tools to know to help them early on.
How it Works
Felo is made of many things that make it work as a functional AI companion. Among those things include capacitive touch sensors, OLED screens, voice recognition, vibration motors, and microcontrollers. All of these things help make Felo the best friend it can be, and allows it to have physical interactions and give haptic feedback for certain behaviors.
Felo can even play games! Through audio and vibration, Felo's base unit is equipped to play all kinds of games from hot potato to memory and reaction games.
As previously mentioned, Felo as a service involves the parent app, which allows parents to set schedules and view behavior reports.
The aim of Felo is not to tell parents how to raise their children, but rather to give them the tools to help them in any way we can.
Felo and its companion app can store data for multiple children, and its personality will adapt and be relevant for each individual child it interacts with, giving them a completely personalized experience.
Use the parent app to:
1. Set daily routines and desired interactions
2. Set specific goals to work toward
3. Receive feedback from Felo interactions
4. Gain a better understanding of your child's development and needs
5. View tangible improvement towards goals and major achievements over time
While Felo on its own is great fun, how else can Felo help kids get more active? Add-ons!
Add-ons provide Felo with new and fun ways to stay mobile, and encourage kids to pursue fun hobbies or passions early on through Felo's different functions of mobility.
Boat Add-on: Take Felo to the water! If you go swimming, boating, or spend a day in the lake, let Felo join in on the fun.
Carriage Add-on: Lots of energy? The carriage add-on's high impact replaceable wheels make it perfect for a day in the backyard or at the park.
Coptor Add-on: This add-on is perfect for older Felo users who may be interested in hiking, traveling, and safely filming cool overhead shots.
As a part of our project development, we created a working physical prototype of the Felo device. It is fully equipped with voice recognition, facial animations, vibration motors, and voice trigger and command reactions.
We had a physical form prototype (shown on right) showing the accurate size and shape of the product form, and a working computed prototype (shown above) to show its inner workings and act as a proof-of-concept for our project.
In addition to full service and product development with Felo, we also developed a marketing strategy in order for the product to feel more like the real deal. So, this included multiple parts: a website, Instagram account, and product package design.
The process book includes more in-depth information on the product's development, user testing and research, user archetypes, personas, and journey maps, and much more.