Gene Lu's Portfolio

The Airloom: Reframing the Project

In the latest user journey above, we incorporated several new ideas:

  • A new set of interactions allowing users to drag photos into the favorites folder
  • Pictures are now browsable by year and by favorites
  • When searching for a person, all the events involving that person along with others at the event are shown
  • Users are able to scrub through the timeline of an event to view the different photos
  • Airloom-to-airloom data transfer allowing families to share their memories with new families

Everything above looked okay, but as mentioned earlier, our teachers (Robert Fabricant, Clay Weidemann, and Joshua Musick) felt that the digital photo frame was too limiting. Why did the interactions happen only on a photo frame? Why couldn’t it involve other devices such as a television? iPhone? iPad? computer? etc. These smaller questions lead us to the big question: Could the Airloom be a standalone system that captures and displays photos?

The Airloom and its Ecosystem - sketches by Evinn Quinn

The Airloom and its Ecosystem - sketches by Evinn Quinn

From what I recall, I think it was Joshua who mentioned something about projection and then it got us thinking, “What if the Airloom was able to project its content out onto the table?” At that moment, we all looked at each other and had that “oh shit!” epiphany.

In hindsight, this pivotal point was a result of collaboration between students and faculty. It was the build-up of questions to whether or not we were achieving Airloom’s goal as an effective capture and display device. All four members of the team, including me, were once again excited about the project and the new direction that the Airloom had taken.

“Brainstorming should start with a question and the goal of capturing something specific, relevant, and actionable. You should depart such sessions with more conviction than when you started.” – Scott Belsky [Making Ideas Happen (31)]

Back to Paper Prototyping!
We decided to completely abandon the photo frame idea (even though we were in the latter weeks of the semester) and started to paper prototype in order to get an idea as to what the new experience would be like.

After initial sketches, we were happy to see how the circular pattern emanating from the Airloom’s base afforded a multi-user experience.

Prototyping with a McDonald's Cup

Prototyping with a McDonald's Cup

We then experimented with a few different ways of displaying each photo, whether it be on the table or on the Airloom itself.

Experimenting with how we visualize data - on the table? or on the Airloom?

Experimenting with how we visualize data - on the table? or on the Airloom?

What the Airloom would look like on the table

What the Airloom would look like on the table

Users interacting with the Airloom

Users interacting with the Airloom

Airloom interaction from above

Airloom interaction from above

And the final paper prototype!

And the final paper prototype!

After finalizing on our paper prototype, we had less than two weeks to carve a block of wood into the proposed form, figure out how to rig a touch-table interface using a projector and a wii mote, code the interface and its sorting features in actionscript, and to come up with a user journey that will explain the multiple use cases of the Airloom.

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  • 03 May 2010

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