Talking Memories (2007)

This project began as an exploration of social issues within the elderly community. Various research methods were adopted, these included observation, interviews, cultural probes, and experience prototyping. The core conclusion was that many partially sighted elders could no longer engage with memories, yet desired a method of reminiscing. Talking Memories allows elders to engage with audio memories, rather than visual memories. The product makes use of gestures in order to create a simple and intuitive interaction. Since the memories stored within the product are precious, its form is suggestive of an heirloom rather than a digital device.

The product's form was inspired by an old telephone mouthpiece and a bell. The telephone mouthpiece suggests where to talk and the bell enforces the gestural interface. Although made of plastic, various design decisions allowed a finish more reminiscent of a ceramic. This deliberate action allows easy manufacture, an unbreakable construction, and yet a precious finish. Many working prototypes were created in its development and the final object fully functioned for testing within the domestic environment.

Talking into the mouthpiece records a story.

Holding to the ear plays memories.

Turning upside down on a surface plays anecdotes out loud so they can be shared with family.

Resin mould

Testing an early prototype