Premises for Distant Narrative Project

Premises for Distant Narrative Project

(for February 9, 2011 meeting)


Based on readings 1 and 2, the Distant Narratives can incorporated the following aesthetical considerations:

The overall design of components can be created as an embedded system designed to be non-intrusive or disruptive in appearance or form to the user’s existing home décor.

The use of LED lights embedded into materials such as floor matts or rugs can be used to transmit information in a way that is pleasing to the user and builds on familiarity with uses of light in this way that are present in other objects used in the home setting.

A collapsible screen could be part of the system (for the surface to project images on from the LCD projector), but the system can be designed to use existing wall space in a hallway or other area of the home as the projection surface.

The components of the system can be made into a few main components: a unit which houses the projector, a structure for holding a computer equipped with wireless capabilities and motion sensors from above, a floor matt or rug with LED lights, a housing for fans which can be located at floor level and directed upward toward the person using the system, and a remote set of LED lights which can be triggered by wireless technology to act as a remote indicator to the user. By having a set of easy to use, portable, components that can be integrated into the home, the system will not disrupt the home environment, but add to it and be accepted by the user similar to any new device or appliance which will be used frequently.


Based on readings 1, 2 and 6, the Distant Narratives can incorporate the following considerations for functionality:

User interface elements need to be easy to use and simple. User interface design should incorporate design which allows for ease of use on the part of older adults, similar to design considerations for assistive technologies. This includes, large type and other interface elements and embodied interface elements which allow for decreased physical mobility and cognitive ability, for example, memory, associated with older adults.

The system needs to be easy to set up and put away, for parts of the system that can be designed to allow for this. It needs to be portable.

Based on reading 3 and 5, the following design considerations for functionality can be considered:

The system will facilitate both face to face contact for close and distant connections and increase the frequency of these connections.

Allowing for this socialization is a key functionality which is connected to improving health.


Based on readings 3 and 4, the Distant Narratives can incorporate the following considerations for psychology:

The system being created will help the user build on existing relationships, family and friends, that are distant and of closer proximity. This will alleviate depression by reducing the sense of isolation, improving cognitive health and quality of life issues.

Based on reading 7:

Projects that help older adults create and maintain relationships while also promoting deeper casual relationships is important. It fosters a sense the companionship aspect of relationships for this age group.


Based on readings 1, 2, and 6, the Distant Narratives can incorporate the following considerations for using technology:

The use of:

motions sensors – infrared sensors (positioned above)

LED lights


LCD projector


arduino interface for programmable electronics

The system design will utilize portable, wireless technology to enable a set of pieces that are not all in the same location. The LCD projector and remote LED indicators will be at one location, the computer and motion sensors will be located near the projection surface. The fans will be located at the projection surface and LED lights will be embedded into a floor matt surface or rug. This compartmentalization of the system allows for a non-intrusive, embedded design aesthetic and also will make the system easy to set up and store if necessary.

Based on reading 8:

It is important to look at how technology is currently used is a potential user’s home. The degree of comfort with modern technology for that user can influence the type of introductory information that needs to be communicated and what considerations need to be made for set up of the system and maintaining the system in the home.

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