Interaction Design Project by Harjot Bal, Cathy Chen and Maayan Cohen
This project describes a prototype called “eHive”, short for ‘Emotion Hive’ and a play on the word “beehive”. Just as the beehive is constructed by nature (bees, really) and houses bees, the eHive is a biomimetic technology-based structure that allows for the representative placement of emotions by individuals in a social setting. The eHive allows for an open conversation between multiple people in a similar space and serves as a gauge of emotional temperature of the space. Physically, the eHive is a spherical structure that is suspended from the ceiling and is comprised of several individual Chinese takeout boxes. The boxes are meant to hold origami figures that are to be placed into an appropriate (emotionally representative) location on the eHive globe by users approaching the eHive. The eHive globe maps out a Active-Passive, Positive-Negative grid by dividing each continuum into a hemisphere—Active-Passive polarities mapped horizontally like the equator whereas Positive-Negative act as poles of the Earth globe(north and south). Note: white boxes represent positivity, black boxes represent negativity, red LEDs represent activeness, blue LEDs represent passiveness. Users also have the option of writing a hidden message onto their paper origami with UV (ultraviolet) ink. Once the origami is selected (and written on) by the user, it is ready to be placed in the globe. The origami is placed by connecting two metal snaps from the origami onto the metal snaps housed inside each box. Once the connection is established the LED, which is already inside each box, lights and a sound that corresponds to one’s placement on the eHive is played. The eHive calls for collective participation and the entire structure can be showcased in a dark room where the globe appears to be lit up and an entire soundtrack of corresponding sounds can be heard repeatedly with a short rest in between. The eHive also invites users by providing access to a small UV flashlight that allows users to read hidden messages relating to each origami figure for greater articulation of emotional state.
The use of origami figures for the eHive is a response to findings on art therapy where users are required to channel their energy into creating something. Although the eHive demonstration features pre-made origami figures, the final design hopes to allow users the materials to create custom origami based on predefined templates. The origami used for the prototype demonstration reference natural elements (i.e. plants, creatures, etc.). The overall structure was physically crafted using a glue gun and scissors. The innards are composed of an intricate wiring system that links individual LEDs with button-clip sensors, all of which run to an Arduino MEGA board. The code for eHive uses a combination of Arduino and Processing.
eHive is designed to be a strong visual representation of the emotional temperature of the collective and essentially aids users in sensing the overall feeling in a certain space.