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By & By

Storytelling for loved ones lost to guide the next generation, using qualitative wisdom from a quantitative data-heavy upload society.

Photo of Lydia Batchelder
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Direct everyday users of the By & By system would be those who have lost a loved on, they are able to consult their ancestor in a way which allows them to ask for wisdom, guidance, and comfort. The “lost loved one” would be able to provide this counsel through the information the they chose to upload while living.
Backstage contributors can be drawn from a rich pool of individuals: writers, historians, healthcare providers, computer programmers, designers- UX, UI, Service and ID to name a few.

By & By is a unique storytelling device that draws from content provided by one user to be used by others after they have passed away. This experience consists of a family of products and a service that work hand in hand to deliver the wisdom and life experiences of those who pass away to those who live on, in a comforting and useful way. It draws from many streams of quantitative data and synthesizes it into useable qualitative moments for future generations to use and reference.

The product consists of a two forms, one called a Bi and the other a Cong together they work to provide and experience to the user to pay physical visit to their loved one. Using NFC technology the Bi is a disk that has reference information about an ancestor, each one is unique to the ancestors personality. The Cong, a Wifi enabled base that has audio capabilities for the ancestors voice to be heard, uses this Bi to present the wisdom of elders to the loved ones searching for it. Pertinent information is drawn by the physical Bi/Cong system from a rich database of intangible information; This brings in the serivce side of By & By. Individuals who have chosen to use this service allow By & By access to many streams of information about their lives for the living to cherish and use in times of need, and for the dead to pass on love and legacy. The “lost loved one” would be able to provide this counsel through the information they chose to upload while living: Social media opinions, voice recordings, emails, health-care records, wearable technology data, blog entries, etc. The system can be as involved and detailed as each user wishes, not every story must be told.

All inclusive, the By & By Experience, allows for as many willing  people and organizations want to contribute. It touches on all aspects of Death care and, in turn, has influence on how we handle caring for the living. It is a system for humanity’s growth through learning from it’s roots.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

To prototype some of the Story Recording aspects of this device,in a way similar to a beeper study I would send story prompts for people to record their thoughts on important matters of their lives such as a recent marriage, career change, or big move. I would keep a log of these voice memos and have their families listen to the quick narrative recorded as well as create a series of questions they could answer on how effective or moving that experience was.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

To have any references to companies, articles, and individuals in scientific/ anthropological communities pursuing ideas like this would be wonderful for furthering research and development of this idea as to this point it has been majorly influenced by artists and designers. The ancestry aspect to this project would be valuable to health care providers and I'd like to see how they could use it in genetic disease and health research.

Tell us about your work experience:

Recent graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design BFA Industrial Design.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren

Lydia, I appreciate the bridge in your idea between physical and virtual. The aesthetic sensibility of the physical objects feel just right in contrast to the sketches of the digital interface. I think the difference and dialogue between these two is powerful in the execution of the idea. I'd love to understand the interface a little better. I'm touched! Good work.

Photo of Lydia

Thank you Lauren, the interface allows for the living to contribute to their own story as well as to listen to their ancestor's story. The ancestor's section of the By &By system is the Gathered side and the living member's section is the Giving side. A log of audio information is organized by categories drawn from the audio information in the Giving process and is synthesized in the Gathering section. Categories may be chosen by the user or created through the By & By system which filters through and finds searchable highlight words from the content.