This project is an enquiry into the nature of bonding between the humans and the Internet of Things in the presence of a Virtual Assistant. When the entire community of technologists and researchers are striving hard to help us find a companion, a friend or family in the virtual assistant, what happens to other devices, which we will hardly interact with.

In the near future of a personalised, emotionally aware, well connected, centralized virtual assistants delegating the tasks to other Internet of Things and the nature of interactions between humans and devices becoming mere consumption of completed tasks with minimal time spent around them, how will the sense of pride and trust be built.In the ecosystem of devices where multiple brands work together with the Virtual Assistant, how will the individual brand retain its identity?

Research and Analysis

Literature Study

Relationship between Human And Technology
The technology is not independent of its context. The evolution of technology and society has always been co-constructed.As explained my the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, to fully experience the essence of technology, we have question, provoke and understand. With complete understanding comes emotional experience.
  Don Norman’s  
Levels of Design Appeal
Emotional Design

According to Norman’s theory of Emotional Design,Humans tend to have emotional connection with objects in three ways:

Visceral: Through the aesthetics and the perceived quality from mere look and feel, and the engagement of the the first encounter of the product.It is immediate, biological and subconscious

Behavioral:Through the usability of the product, user’s assessment of how well it performs the desired functions, and how easily they can learn to use it. It is generally about the physical interactions with the product.

Reflective: Through user’s ability to project the product’s impact on lives after using it: how it makes users feel when using it or what values the users attach to the product. In this level, the user starts developing trust or feel proud about their ownership.

Emotional Stimuli in Interactions

With the brief study on emotional stimuli, it was clear that, by making the context relevant or by understanding user’s relevance to the  context, the user experiences a heightened sense of belonging which acts as an emotional stimuli.

Affective Interactions

Affect is described as the experience of feeling or emotion. The mind - body connections have been researched extensively in psychology.There has been wide acceptance the, bodily movements and emotion processes are tightly coupled. Infact, bodily movements can evoke emotions in people. It is also conceived that, Emotions are not internal to the body, but spread across the society we live in.Thus, emotions are highly contextual in nature.
Understanding emotions is one of emerging research areas in Human Computer Interaction. One such is Affective Computing which looks affect as another kind of information—discrete units or states internal to an individual that can be transmitted in a loss-free manner from people to computational systems and back. But an alternate perspective, Affective interactions looked at  emotion as interaction: dynamic, culturally mediated, and socially constructed and experienced. This model instead of sensing and transmitting emotion, believes that systems should support human users in understanding, interpreting, and experiencing emotion in its full complexity and ambiguity.
The affective interactions model tries to ground itself in the relationship between technology and practice, and move from technologies of representation to technologies of participation.

Affective Loop

Systems that both can be influenced by and influence users can elicit a highly qualitative user experience often known as affective loop experience.
In an affective loop experience, (i) emotions are seen as processes, constructed in the interaction, starting from everyday bodily, cognitive or social experiences; (ii) the system responds in ways that pull the user into the interaction, touching upon end user's' physical experiences; and (iii) throughout the interaction the user is an active, meaning-making individual.

Redefined Brief

How can we design interactions to enhance the passive communication channels of the device for them to be remembered and emotionally connected with the users.

User Research

The purpose of the research was to understand, the nature of bonding with their devices. What attributes of the devices enables that emotional bonding. How this emotional bonding influences brand loyalty. The screening criterion for recruiting people for primary research was provided by the company, sa as to align with the company profile.

Participatory Observations
Long Interviews.

The data collected during were analysed to find the significant categories which were further developed into insights.
Key Insights

The next steps followed in the design process are Persona Development, concept building and proof of concept.

This is a partial representation of the project. For further discussions, feel free to write to

Copyright © 2017 Kavya D