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Serendipitous, IoT enabled encounters in the workspace; a mesh network of smart stress balls to enable spontaneous moments.

Serendipitous, IoT enabled encounters in the workspace; a mesh network of smart stress balls to enable spontaneous moments.

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Eric commented on Serendipitous Moments

Dear Lauren,

Thank you for the reminder! We’re unable to join today however... we are doing a research project in the middle of the jungle in Myanmar and the internet is spotty at best.

We are having a bit of trouble with our refinement stage, particular what we want to accomplish in it. I’m currently working to redesign the electronics components in order to integrate some gestural inputs, and our designer is creating new models. Would these be desirable outputs for the deadline? From the criteria and info from the workshops, it sounds like you are expecting more of user research and field testing. We had done so extensively with our prior prototype, but are not able to conduct more tests during this time. Would it be possible to get some guidance? What would be the crucial output you think we should prioritise for the refinement phase?

Thank you for your time and insight!


Eric commented on Serendipitous Moments

Thank you for your question Lauren! Very excited to be a first-time poster on OpenIDEO!

The smart-stress-ball sits passively on the participants' desks until they want to use and activate it.

By playing with it, they trigger the device and opt-in to the potential gameplay; if other users trigger their device within the same timeframe (4 minutes in our tests), they are matched together and each one receives a set of instructions by email or text (modality that we hope to improve on in further work). If no one else triggers their individual device, it may become dormant after the timer or provide a solo-task for the participant.

The active players are all instructed with some task, for example: solo players may be tasked to tell a prepared corny joke to someone in the office. Group gameplay may be a bit more complicated; we have tested interactions like having the players "hunt" for each other, without giving away their identities, by being the first to trigger their device upon becoming in proximity to their target and the winner would receive a prize, like a chocolate or coffee from the cafe. However, the reward is increased if they redeem it with their fellow players, or for another employee.

The gameplay itself takes only as much time as they relocate from their desk to the communal area and only acts as a matchmaker and ice-breaker for the rest of their break time, but now ideally with companionship. When it ends, the participants go back to their desk with the stress-ball and continue their work; the device itself becomes inactive again, until next time they need a break.