Project by: Connie Golsteijn - Master graduation project for clients 'Welzijn Eindhoven' and 'Centrum voor Jeugd en Gezin Sittard-Geleen'

Year: 2010

Duration: 18 weeks

My role: Individual project; I was responsible for the whole design process. I started the project with the broad goal of designing for parent-teenager communication. Through literature and user studies I formulated a more specific design goal for which design concepts were created. I followed a user-centered approach and consulted families with teenagers in several phases of the project, up to a final evaluation in which four families tried out the working prototype.

Goal: design a product or system for parents and teenagers that facilitates communicating in a pleasant way about the past and experiences of the parents. With this product or system both parents and teenagers should be actively involved.

Design: Cueb is an interactive digital photo medium with which parents and teenagers can explore individual and shared experiences and are triggered to exchange stories. Each family member has his or her own digital photo cube, which shows random photos of that person's individual experiences, when it is shaken. By connecting cubes, photos of shared experiences can be explored. Furthermore, photos can be switched between cubes and locked to use them as selection filters. Locking switched photos will display photos related to another person's photos and thus allows parents and teenagers to compare their experiences and explore similarities and differences.

Publication: This project resulted in the following publication: Golsteijn, C. and Hoven, E. van den (2013). Facilitating parent-teenager communication through interactive photo cubes. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp. 273-286. See Publications for more details.

Certification: Cueb was certified by the 'Foundation Trademark Eindhoven Design' in 2010, and my graduation thesis about this project was short-listed for the 'Gerrit van der Veer thesis award' for Dutch higher education in Human Computer Interaction in 2011.


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This video explains the functions of Cueb and gives an impression of the final user evaluation with the working prototype.

The final prototype in a living room setting. The cubes could be connected using connection points made of iron and magnets. These connection points further provided the communication between two cubes.

The final prototype in a living room setting. On a coffee table Cueb can trigger use in daily life.

The final prototype in a custom made case.

Cueb was tested with four families who could browse their own photos with the prototype. The concept was well received and triggered also stories about the past of the parents.

One side of the cube was made fully functional and could be used to switch and lock photos. An imitation leather frame provided a flexible transition to push the screen inwards.

The electronics in each cube included three digital photo keychains, an accelerometer, an Arduino pro mini, and a button for the lock functionality.

For the final prototype two cubes were made. Each cube implemented the shaking, connecting, locking and photo switching functionality. First two wooden cubes were made, a priming coat was applied and the cubes were sanded.

After consulting families Cueb was chosen to be further developed and a computer model was made to communicate the final design.

First model of the Cueb concept. This model was used to communicate the concept to the families in the first feedback session.