Fun Theory – F12 – Dillon

Tiffany Chou and I presented our project from the Fun Theory class at the ITP Winter Show this past Sunday (Tiffany) and Monday (me). We came up with the name “Soap & Mirrors” after wanting to change the name from “Mirror, Mirror” into something more appropriate for what this project evolved into.

Here are some pictures of the setup.

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When visitors came up to the display, I walked them through a user scenario such as this: Say you’re coming out of the bathroom stall, and you’re about to pass by the sink, when the floor sensors would sense that you were leaving and trigger a voice to say something like, “Don’t be gross. Wash your hands with soap.” Then when the user went to wash their hands, they would press the soap button, which would trigger a video projection of various content (in this case, cute cat/puppy clips) to appear on the mirror in front of them as they washed their hands. The voice would also encourage the user to keep washing by saying humorous things like, “Ooh, I like it when you scrub like that!” The video would play for the appropriate length of time for one to properly wash their hands (~15 seconds, according to our research), entertaining/rewarding the user all the while (not to mention letting them see their own reflection, as well, playing on their vanity). At the end of the video, the voice you congratulate with user with “You’re a tidy person,” or something of the like.

We wanted to promote better health and hygiene practices in a fun, rewarding way. We only slightly touched on the “shame factor” with adding the first comment that included the word “gross”. But overall we stayed pretty positive and took the advice of Katherine Dillon and our classmates and did not venture down the guilt/shame lane, since it would not be fun for the user, only to observers. We wanted to incentivize behavior changes in a fun way.

This concept could be adapted to different venues by changing the content of the videos, the output onto the mirrors (an opaque effect or face-tracking effect), and the audio voice (human instead of what we had, which was an automated voice).

To further develop this concept and go deeper into the the theory behind it, we could try to figure out a less blatant way of trying to change peoples’ sanitary behavior and go with a more psychologically subtle approach. A visitor suggested this to me and I really appreciated this feedback. I also got feedback about the audio voice — that it should be a real person to give the experience a more human, immediate quality, and in retrospect, I agree.


Fun theory class 4 brief presentation.

Some very informal thoughts: Should we change the idea to a soap button-triggered pin ball machine? It would have to be a ball/drop system that would only work if the person was vigorously washing their hands(?). Motion- tracking the hands would involve a camera in the bathroom, though. Too complicated in physical-computing terms, in this timeframe.┬áMaybe it should be a Processing sketch of the randomly-set ball movements, and the mirror would not show until the sketch was over and the person was done vigorously washing their hands…(?) Motion-tracking would still have to be involved, though, to ensure that people were washing their hands for long enough and vigorously enough.

Problem: Lots of people (men especially) don’t wash their hands with soap after using facilities.

First sketch: Many people, don’t wash their hands with soap, especially at shared/public bathrooms.

Solution sketch: A mechanism to encourage people to wash their hands in shared bathrooms. There will be foot-paths that lead to the sink, that light up when the person follows/steps on them. If the person doesn’t step on the foot paths, and goes just to the door after finishing, there will be a sound that goes off saying, “Eew!” or “Really?!” If the the person goes to the sink, the mirror image shows an image of a seductive person that appears if the soap dispenser is dispensed, and the image slowly comes into focus the longer the person washes their hands with soap. When they are finished washing hands, the approach to the door is met with sounds of cheers. The door opening will be lighting up like a casino win or a pretty landscape or fantasy-like environment.

Problem: No one really likes mopping, and then the house gets dirty.

First sketch: The problem is that people don’t want to mop the floor.

Second sketch: Make mopping fun — happy music will play when the mop is used and moved around (the mop will be connected to the person’s iPod or mp3 player), and sad music will be turned on if it has been too long since the last mopping occurred. This idea needs more figuring out. Another variation would be to have the whole floor laden with sensors that would be activated when the mop touched the floor to do something like play happy music.