CUE


Created with Faith Oftadeh

Designing Cue was an opportunity to explore numerous modes of communication through technology. We wanted to stray away from solutions merely explore how wearables can facilitate less direct and more subtle forms of communication. The goal was centered around the importance of simple communication in a small, diverse group of people such as a work, classroom or home environment. Amid our research, we asked ourselves the following questions:


• How is communication hindered according to context and groups consisting of multiple cultures?
• What types of problems arise from miscommunication in a diverse group?
• Why is text-based communication sometimes misleading or unnecessary?
• In what contexts is it necessary for open communication to run smoothly?
• Why are people sometimes incapable of communicating properly and what hinderances do they face?
• How does basic human insecurities play a role in communication?
• Why are we afraid or embarrassed to say what we feel or why are we too nervous to speak to someone of authority?
• Does this mean we are all somewhat disabled?


By exploring multiple scenarios, we realized that communication is context contingent. There isn’t one single solution, it needs to be multifaceted as humans are multifaceted. We looked at three different scenarios where humans must interact and where their interaction is vital to the success of the group with success being defined in different ways. Through this exploration, we came to realize our design.


DESIGN


Since subtlety is largely of interest, we wanted our design to feel light and simple using materials such as leather and wool versus steel and glass. The design isn’t invisible, however its small, its subtle and it’s there. We wanted to embrace technology in a form not so recognizable. It had to be attuned with other accessories, clothing and jewelry. We used natural fibers like wool and leather which allowed Cue to blend in nicely with any article of clothing, making it an easy wearable.

With its sleek design and subtle form Cue, can also be activated with common or typical bodily gestures. Simple. Light. Easy. The actual design was important to this project mainly because it was atypical from most wearable devices.


HOW IT WORKS


Cue is a non-automated wearable that only responds when humans feel the need to use it. In the spectrum of seams to seamless, this product isn’t completely seamful nor is it completely seamless, however it leans closer on the spectrum of seamless since it sends digital signals to a group or a single receiver. Think of it like a silent pager or a private social network that changes its members varying on contexts.


As an example scenario we explored the workplace as an environment where communication can be problematic due to hierarchy and etiquette. Good management is vital to the success of any organization and the manager / employee relationship is worth focusing on as basic communication can be difficult for those in charge or those under supervision. In this scenario, an employee sends an anonymous trigger to his manager who receives a notification that someone in this area is feeling a form of frustration. She receive the cue and decides to send those members in that area a message letting them know she's free to chat for one on one quite hours to freely talk about anything. Each employee receives a cue on either their smart watch, smart phone or computer showing her message. If an employee decides to take up her offer, they can easily directly cue her they are in need of assistance.

This example can also be implemented in a classroom setting where students can send their professors cue’s when they are confused, in need of assistance or if the professor is unclear about a subject. Cue was made to better facilitate simple forms of communication.