Where has the human connection gone?

 

I am happy to share an amazing experience with you. 

Back in Sept 2015, alongside an event called “Welcoming Refugees in Copenhagen” at Slotsplads in front of the Danish parliament expecting around 40.000 visitors, some students and myself planned an event that would question were the human connection has gone. 

The idea was to let people communicate through their eyes rather than talking. With the help of a couple of people from CIID, we were able to set up a place with 4 chairs, 2 blankets and signs in Danish and English saying: “Where has the human connection gone?” and “Find out by sharing one minute of eye contact”. 

The three hours we performed at this huge event provided a very unique experience with very special people sharing their feelings, emotions, thoughts and worries without words. Most of the participants stayed 3-7 minutes and took their time to look into the other person’s soul as well as reflecting on themselves. The reactions reached from collective smiles and laughter to tears and hugs, reaching out hands and turning the stranger into a confidant.

I am keen to repeat the event again. In the meantime, this video provides a glimpse in to some of the many connections that we made on that day.

Following the example of  "The Liberators International" I contacted the founder Peter Sharp to ask for advice of how to make this event possible and successful. It is amazing to be surrounded by curious and supportive people that make projects like this one possible.

I WANT TO THANK ALL  HELPERS AND PARTICIPATORS FOR THIS VERY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE - YOU ARE TRUELY AMAZING.
SPECIAL THANKS GO TO MY FELLOW STUDENTS WHO MADE THIS POSSIBLE:
Francesca Desmarais, Manu Dixit, Sudhanshu Gautam, Vihanga Gore, Sergey Komardenkov, Alejandra Molina, Karan Chaitanya Mudgal, Akshay Verma

 

People's Choice Voting for the IxDA

 

Check out the IxDA finalists and make your choice.
All finalists

Two projects from the CIID 2015 batch are finalists as well:
smART - category "engaging" by Gunes Kantaroglu and myself
Sound Blocks - category "expressing" by Alejandra Molina, Andreas Refsgaard & John Ferreira

 

2nd & 3rd Week Conclusion

 

I was pleased with many very interesting people to interview in the first two weeks. I interviewed 2 physiotherapists, 3 personal trainers, 3 (ex)patients and 1 active and pain-free person. The result of these 9 interviews were two directions that I find interesting:


PRE - What can be done to stay healthy and prevent therapy?

Physiotherapists:
"The biggest problem is our affluent society."
"People sitting in front of a computer all day loose the feeling of pain - they just turn it off."
"The world has become too static."
"My dream is that schools educate their students about their body and health from 1st-12th grade."

Personal Trainers:
"If there was nothing to force the injury, that means: It was you."
"Instead of thinking what we can do to not get sick, we should think about what we can do to stay healthy."
"Athletes are not progressive."
"Not a single golfer warms up."
"They cream when they have problems, but before that they don't do anything."

Patients:
"We all know we should wear a helmet on the bike, but we don't."
"I feel I have a naturally high level of health."
"Stretching never became a habit."
"I would not want to see data about my physical health in everyday life."

INSIGHTS:
1. Injuries/issues that have not been forced by contact could have been prevented.
2. It is part of our society to question what we can do to not get sick instead of asking what  
    keeps us healthy.
3. Our society leads to desensitised bodies.
4. As long as people don`t have physical issues, they are not interested in prevention / their
    health status or advice.

HMW PROVIDE PEOPLE WITH KNOWLEDGE THAT ALLOWS THEM TO UNDERSTAND THEIR BODY SIGNALS AND INTEGRATE A ROUTINE IN THEIR LIFE, THAT WILL PREVENT PHYSICAL ISSUES THROUGH MORE BODY AWARENESS?


DURING/AFTER - How can the therapy be transformed into a positive experience that patients want to participate in and continue after the therapy?

Physiotherapist:
"It's a collective product."
"80% of patients don't do their exercises."
"Incorrect execution of exercises can be worse than no exercising."
"The patient needs to participate."

Personal Trainer:
"Even though it is about them it feels impersonal to them."
"Injuries become part of us."
"The aim is conscious execution of exercises with a high quality of movement."

Patients:
"I did exercises when i was in pain."
"I find excuses not to do it."
"I don`t have enough time."
"I don`t think my ankle is back to normal, but how would I know?"

Healthy Person:
"I think most people don't forgive themselves for not doing the exercises."
"They go to the escape mode, because then they don't have to deal with it anymore."

INSIGHTS:
1. A therapy does not only last 20-30 minutes each week, it can mean changing your whole
   lifestyle.
2. The therapy can only be successful when the patient participates - it is always a collective
    product. 
3. There is not enough time to share relevant information with the patient during the treatment.
4. Patients are not motivated to do their exercises, when they are not in pain.
5. Patients not continuing the exercises and prescriptions from their physiotherapist after the
   treatment more likely return to therapy than people continuing.

HOW MIGHT WE ALLOW PATIENTS TO KEEP BETTER TRACK OF THEIR PROGRESS DURING THERAPY AS WELL AS AFTERWARDS AND KEEP THEM ATTACHED TO THEIR PRESCRIBED TASKS BY A JOYFUL EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE?

 

Final Project - First Week Conclusion

 

I started my first week by looking into different medical conditions that lead to physiotherapyand discovered many interesting products and concepts that are related to my still broad topic of: movement tracking in the medical and sports sector, micro adjustments, position correction, prevention and body awareness. I collected the most interesting projects and concepts in my notebook and wrote down the most interesting thoughts around them. Some of them are:
- detect bad motion before it leads to problems
- pinpoint the body position over time
- a device that not only leads you, but also learns about you, your habits, problems, strength etc.
- a composition of small smart objects that change their position or arrangement depending on  
  you
- visualising movement in e.g. a video that you can play back and that you can translate into data
  yourself in the way it is most meaningful to you

On Friday I met my advisor Jakob, who works at CIID. This is the first time he is advising projects, but I think we are both motivated and excited. We talked through my plan for the coming 7 weeks and talked about general organisational things more than specific questions so far.

On Sunday I had my first two interviews - a physiotherapist and a personal trainer. It was very interesting to see that both shared very common opinions on many subjects I was asking them about. Two more interviews followed this week. One of them was with another personal trainer, momentarily developing an app called FitBirds in the CIID Incubator. Some of his views were not necessarily according to the other personal trainer and the physiotherapist, but I am sure they will help me to look at things critically. Today I finally had the first interview with a person on the other side of the treatment/work out: a (ex)patient. 
I think it is very important to understand both sides before narrowing down on one topic/idea/concept. I would like to share the most interesting quotes I got from the interviews here:

1st INTERVIEW - PHYSIOTHERAPIST

"It is like being Sherlock Holmes during the treatment, you write down indications, you write down offenders, you start developing a feeling for what is wrong - it is hard to describe."

"The therapy and its result is a common product."

"Mostly "healthy people" come."

"Everything that is one-sided will revenge one day."

"80% of patients don`t do their exercises."

"The world has become too static."

2nd INTERVIEW - PERSONAL TRAINER FROM GERMANY

"There are things you can do to partly prevent injuries, but most people don`t do anything. They scream when they have problems, but before that they don`t do anything."

"Not a single golfer warms up."

"It`s important to operate to full capacity but not more than that."

"Do something to get sick" vs. "What keeps us healthy?"

"The quality of movement is important."

3rd INTERVIEW - PERSONAL TRAINER FROM DENMARK

"The biggest risk is not doing anything."

"You can mess up easily in any sport, but if you move controlled it`s hard to mess up."

"Optimal position for the body and for success match up nicely."

"The whole thing of slowly and naturally building up is difficult for people."

"The fact itself that you can do something, does not mean it is good for you to do."

4rd INTERVIEW - PATIENT FROM THE UNITED STATES

"Streching never became a habit."

"When I did exercises it was because I was in pain - it was a quick fix."

"I knew if I don`t do the exercises it will be permanent."

"The relationship to the risk/danger was missing."

"We all know we should wear a helmet while biking, but most people don`t. It is similar with smoking."


 

Final Project Blog

 

I can hardly believe how fast this year passed by. The final projects always seemed so far away and now it is actually happening. We started our final project this week, everybody with a self-choosen topic. This will be the second last project at CIID, surrounded by extremely talented people from all over the world and many different backgrounds.

I am overwhelmed, but also very excited. The final project is a great opportunity to focus on our own interest and choose our own skills out of all the things we learned this year. I am looking forward to exciting 8 weeks that I can use to improve my skills, learn something new, challenge myself and combine product design and interaction design. One of my goals is to find a good balance of experimentation and serving a clear need.

I will share an update here once a week, for a more detailed story, please follow me here:
https://medium.com/@v.hammel

 

Where has the human connection gone?

 

Together with an event called "Welcoming Refugees in Copenhagen" at Slotsplads in front of the parliament expecting around 40.000 visitors I planned an event that would question were the human connection has gone. The idea was to let people find out by simply communicating through their eyes rather than talking. With the help of a couple of my student peers I was able to set up a place with 4 chairs, 2 blankets and signs in danish and englisch saying: "Where has the human connection gone?" and "Find out by sharing one minute of eye contact.". 

The three hours we performed at this huge event were a very unique experience with very special people sharing their feelings, emotions, thoughts and worries without words. Most of the participants stayed 3-7 minutes and took their time to look into the other persons soul as well as  reflecting on themselves. The reactions reached from collective smiles and laughter to tears and hugs, reaching out hands and turning the stranger into a confidant.

A week has passed by now and I am still caught in that moment which introduced myself into a new and fascinating way of communicating that I have hardly experienced so far. I am longing for a repeat.

 

How can we make use of our own data?

 

DATA makes ART

We accumulate more and more data. What do we do with it? How do we stop it going into the digital equivalent of the cupboard under the stairs? How can we use data about consumption and sustainable living to influence decisions at home and integrate them into the fabric of our everyday life and homes?

Technology is everywhere and collecting data constantly. Not only outside, but also in our homes. How much anergy we use, how long our showers take, how many cups of coffee we have and how much toilet paper we use is no longer a secret. We provide data with every step we take and create a profile around our own person, our behaviours and values. Rather than collecting data just for the sake of it, the data should be accessible to the person that cares most: The information provider itself.

We see a great opportunity to allow people to evaluate their own data and learn from it to take responsibility for our common environment. Making the homeowner aware of his/her actions is and the effect on their environment is the first step to improvement. In the near future we will share our earth with a plurality and resources are not infinite, so we need to take action.

Imagine a painting in your home that reacts to your actions concerning natural resources and showing you the consequences of your action by change. An excessive use of resources will lead to a dry, dark and sad image, or just blurry out and is mirroring how you treat the environment. Do your best to create a beautiful art piece by a careful use of resources, which will light up your home as well as the environment you live in.

 

Testing and User Journey

 

After two weeks of speculative design and working on a slow and personal service (choosing the wedding as an example) and a fast and impersonal service (choosing the McDonald`s model as an example) we went out and got some very helpful insights for the next steps.
We brought a paper tray with a paper-layer saying: McImmigration and asked people what they would choose to have on their menu.
Some of the question were:

Why did you choose McDonald`s today?
Which verbs describe the service best?
Did you consider it to be a fast or a slow service today? Why?

Have you ever moved to a different country and registered there?
What was your experience?

What if this instead of being McDonald`s was the place to become part of danish society?
What would be your personal menu?