mostly relevant for the three independent project, but still worthy of thought for all:
i'm thinking about the directive for this project to enhance relationships. i just read through erin's project brief, which was well considered and about enhancing communication, and it brought to mind a couple of questions:
is it possible that this thing can facilitate face-to-face interactions?
if not, what is the least-mediated form of communication such a device could manage [minimal intervention of a non-human object]?
mediate [entry 6 on dictionary.com]: acting through, dependent on, or involving an intermediate agency; not direct or immediate.
i ask these questions so we don't just go immediately to redesigning a phone interface. we need to ask the bigger and broader "what if" or "how can" questions that might result in something different from a "phone" [a known format/solution], and avoid jumping to these known formats or modifications of existing formats/solutions. i would say the goal here is for technology to bring us into the best possible relational state and that would be in-person, real-time hanging out, sharing experiences. we want it to be a way we come together, not a convenient way to put off getting together. it is indeed a double-edged sword – facebook allows me to see images and thoughts from friends across the country, but it's just enough information where i don't feel the need to call or book a flight.
a few random "what if" and "how can" questions:
what if an electronic device could bring about more frequent in-person get-togethers?
how can a device make it feel like we are in the same room together, if we cannot be?
what if technology was an excuse for us to get together?