Yo–Yo Machines: Self-Build Devices that Support Social Connections During the Pandemic

Gaver, Bill, Boucher, Andy, Brown, Dean, Chatting, David, Matsuda, Naho, Ovalle, Liliana, Sheen, Andy and Vanis, Michail (2022) Yo–Yo Machines: Self-Build Devices that Support Social Connections During the Pandemic. In: CHI '22: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York, US, pp. 1-17. ISBN 9781450391573

Yo_Yo_Machines_AAM_.pdf - Accepted Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1145/3491102.3517547


Yo–Yo Machines are playful communication devices designed to help people feel socially connected while physically separated. We designed them to reach as many people as possible, both to make a positive impact during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess a self-build approach to circulating research products and the appeal of peripheral and expressive communication devices. A portfolio of four distinct designs, based on over 30 years of research, were made available for people to make by following simple online instructions (yoyomachines.io). Each involves connecting a pair of identical devices over the internet to allow simple communication at a distance. This paper describes our motivation for the project, previous work in the area, the design of the devices, supporting website and publicity, and how users have made and used Yo-Yo Machines. Finally, we reflect on what we learned about peripheral and expressive communication devices and implications for the self-build approach.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Funding Information: We are grateful to the many makers who engaged with the project and gave us feedback in many forms, and particularly Rosa, Kristina and ‘Mathilde’. We also thank Jen Molinera for her contributions throughout. This research as funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant number EP/V026399/1. ACM CHI 2022, New Orleans, United States, 30 Apr - 5 May 2022
Uncontrolled Keywords: research through design, self-build, peripheral and expressive communication, open source, IoT, design research
Subjects: W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2022 09:30
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023 12:45
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/49272

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