Exploring prospects of bringing people together
Aibolot Makenov

Connect is a device which brings together family memberrs and friends by using a traditional meal as a ritual of being connected to others and maintaining the sense of community and belonging.
Current society is experinecing the most complex technological breakthrough where society has all means of staying connected and yet the majority of the population feels lonely. People pursue their dream jobs and work far from family and friends, while students go abroad or to different states to study. The busy modern lifestyle causes people to live alone and feel lonely most of the time.. As a result depression, social isolation, anxiety, deimentia and many other physical and mental health issues are being experienced by those people.

The impact of loneliness on Millennials who pursue a busy and career driven lifestyle.

Millennials have felt left out the most from all the other age groups. From the survey of 20,000 people 47% of responders reported that they feel left out and sometimes or always feel lonley.

How might we connect people through meals as a ritual to prevent loneliness?

Exploring different «how might we» questions gave a good starting direction for the design which has been related to the meal as a ritual to connect with people. In fact, there are many statements that food nowdays has become more than just a means of survival but more as an asset to connect with others.
Why? To connect familiy members, friends and relatives to maintain a sense of community and belonging. How? By connecting people with a meal which is a ritual of being together with close people. What? Product which is specifically designed for people who pursue a busy lifestyle and which will assist in reminding and connecting to family, relatives and friends.

Design Direction.

Design a product which will help people who pursue a busy lifestyle to stay connected with family and friends. The proudct should be designed to use when the user sits to eat which would become a ritual to stay in touch with close people.

Thumbnail Sketching.

After defining and taking a design direction, rough sketches were made to put the ideas onto paper for furhter validation.

Early Prototyping.

Paper mockups are always a good way to test the potention design very quickly and cheaply. After putting the ideas onto paper, several designs were prototyped and tested for size, form and interaction. While prototyping, elements like buttons, lights and screens were considered to communicate the design intent.

Form and CMF Exploration.

Photoshop renders and early CAD models were used in order to explore different forms and materials for the design.

Design Detailing Considering CMF.

While working on the 3D model one of the major points was to consider the use context where the user will be interacting with the product while eating or being in the kitchen. That being said, different intuitive buttons and design elements were worked out.

Virtual Assistant Support.

Connect is supported with a virtual assistant which will remind the user to call or help the user remember important family and friend events to stay in touch and connected.

Syncing with Personal Calendar.

By syncing the mobile device with Connect, the user can receive suggestions on new appointments or video chats according to their calendars.

Connect in Three Colors.

Connect has three vibrant colors which can fit the aesthetics of any modern house as a very decorative element. The main blue color represents the friendliness and interactiveness of a product.

Soft textile touch to add user-friendliness to the product.

Material wise the blue textile has been covered to give user-friendliness to the product. The use of textile makes it also aesthetically pleasing.

Exchange emotions through colors.

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Sound Integration.

Two speakers are located on the sides of the product. Speakers are hidden under the textile to give a more elegant and clean design to the product. The sound system will mostly be utilized to deliver the messages of the AI.

Testing and Validating the design intend.

The final prototype was printed and assmebled in order to see all design details and proportions. Final works-like model gave more insights for further development of the product.
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