touch stone

Keeping in touch with a touch

This project explored blending ubiquitous and wearable computing to enhance spirituality. Our final design, a haptic bracelet, extends the wearer's reach with a touch. Exchanging beads with loved ones allows you to show them that they are in your thoughts across distance and faiths. Simply touching a bead on your bracelet lights up theirs. We envisioned how this technology might integrate into the social fabric, creating new rituals as it strengthens bonds.

  • UX design
  • needfinding research
  • prototype design
  • movie direction
  • concept video
  • presentation
  • movie script & storyboards

with Gorden Liu , Paul Mandel , and Alina Onishchenko


Explore how ubiquitous computing will influence daily life

This project arose out of a design studio assignment about the emerging field of ubiquitous computing. My teammates and I wanted to learn how people find community and tranquility in their daily lives and to investigate how this technology would interact with these practices.


Needfinding Research

To discover how people found solace and a sense of belonging, we sought out people who represented a range of beliefs. We interviewed twelve people, ranging from priests to atheists, about what gave them a sense of peace and community. We also visited spaces dedicated to building a sense of community and attended religious services as observers.

"I like getting out of the city, going hiking - or I'll go to a blues dance." -Peter, 25, aetheist

"The cathedral puts everything in perspective. Your problems begin to seem so small." -Susan, 62, Catholic

Photo inside community chapel

We spent time in spaces like this non-denominational chapel.

What We Learned

Whatever their beliefs, our interview subjects desired similar results from spiritual practices. After we combined our results in an affinity diagram, 6 common themes described people's rituals:
  • This practice helps me feel connected with a community.
  • This practice improves my mood.
  • This practice relaxes me physically and mentally.
  • This practice helps me find direction.
  • This practice helps me understand and deal with the world around me.
  • This practice helps me come to terms with my limitations.
These insights guided us through ideation and helped create design principles to guide us. One thing that became apparent was that few people needed a specific physical space to achieve a sense of tranquility or belonging.
Photo of brainstorming using Post-its

We brainstormed more than ideas inspired by our research insights and then voted which to illustrate as storyboards.

Iterative Design & Concept Validation

we distilled our dozens of provocative ideas into storyboards. These illustrated high-level narratives about how a person might interact with a design. We used these to elicit how a person might feel about a concept or technology. After showing twenty people our storyboards, we iterated on our ideas, made new storyboards, and shopped them around.

"It would really boost my day if I got a message that someone was praying for me." -Jenn, 19, Catholic

"I like to think they can hear my prayers." -Anna, 84, Catholic

People were drawn to artifacts that felt personal, familiar, and unobtrusive, like jewelry, and the notion of getting feedback for the positive thoughts or prayers they tried to send.

Click here to see how the concept evolved!


Touch Stone helps people feel together when apart.

We made a concept video to communicate our vision, a bracelet of interactive beads that glow and warm when a person directs a message at you. The script, which we planned frame for frame in storyboards, emphasizes Touch Stone's simple interaction style that allows you to effortlessly keep in touch across distance, generation and denomination.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact me at tucker [dot] judith [at] gmail [dot] com.