Master Course in I-Design 2010
Project Leader: Stefano Cardini
Assistants: Renzo Giusti
Project Title: Flock
Keywords: mutual acculturation, natural compromise, second generation immigrants, share information, public space.
Team Members: Carolina Cestero Font, Ji Eun Lee, Rogier Kauw-A-Tjoe
Social isolation is the feeling of being trapped in a close community, while wanting to be part of a larger society. One feels alienated, since one does not feel oneself in that community. Social isolation is often experienced by second generation immigrants; caused by the perceived pressure of assimilation, as opposed to the willingness to preserve their own culture. However, many groups in society experience social isolation.
The park is one of the places were people of all nationalities meet. For example when young parents take their children to parks to play, they often encounter people of different nationalities. However, they do not interact other than small talk.
By means of mutual acculturation (adopting a part of someone else’s culture and visa versa) a coherent open society can be created.
What is it?
FLOCK facilitates natural interaction by crossing language barriers and exploiting common interest (i.e. parenthood and the will to learn new things). By reading and sharing information (Short stories, headlines of multiple countries) a discussion can be triggered. Also by teaching each other skills, a conversation can be held without using language at all.
How does it work?
While FLOCK is “just” a table for unregistered users, for registered users it is an opportunity to connect to other people. First, the user needs to buy the FLOCK-ID for him/her self and, when necessary, also for the children. The FLOCK-ID for adults is a keychain, the children’s version is a button: both are equipped with an RFID tag with a unique identification number. Parents buy multiple buttons at once, so more cloths can be equipped with the FLOCK-ID.
When people arrive at home, with their new bought FLOCK-ID, they have to create a personal profile which includes: the skills they are willing to teach, information about their culture (home country, etc), hobbies and optional information about their children. This registration process can also be done at the FLOCK table.
The FLOCK-ID is used to login to the system. When the user is within reach of the system, it will be unlocked. When the user is out of reach of the RFID antenna, the system will be blocked so no other people use their profile.
The user can then: read and share headlines of their home county and where they are now, read and share short stories (eBooks) in any language and request other users to teach you a skill. While reading information on their own screen, the users can press the share button to present the information on the shared screen in a common language. The system facilitates with these features to trigger physical interaction.
Value and Potential
FLOCK facilitates triggers for physical interaction. By making use of personal profiles, people can be matched based on culture or common interest. The greater part of the system works language-independent, meaning that most activities use ones own language, hand gestures or no language. This causes people to be able to interact in a natural way, without having to deal with a language barrier. Overcoming language barriers is important to get out of a social isolation.
FLOCK also brings people together by letting them share provocative headlines. Raising discussion topics and share ones own vision, will encourage understanding each other.
FLOCK can be used in many public area’s were people meet but do not interact. Especially when people are forced to be in a place, they can be triggered to have a conversation and understanding a fellow human being.