HERIN HARAMOTO

INTERACTION DESIGNER/RESEARCHER









CREATE YOUR OWN CONSTELLATIONS AND STARGAZE TOGETHER



CONNECTING SKIES

Interaction Design

Feb 2022 - ongoing (prototype in Unity) | May 2020 (prototype in P5.js) | Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, NYU ITP

Role: Ideation, Programming, Graphic Design
Tool: Unity, C#, Unity Asset Store, P5.js
Team: Alejandro Segura, Elliott Wortham
Advisor: Annelie Berner, Matthew Visco, Josh Horowitz



Prototype in P5.js (*VR preview is at the bottom)

DESING OPPORTUNITY


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our worlds were divided. People were made to live in their own bubbles, with little interaction with others. This project explored new ways to connect people’s worlds together.



ONLINE MULTIPLAYER INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

Connecting Skies is a multi-player interactive experience where people can look into the sky, create their own constellations, and then stargaze at theirs and other people’s constellations. The experience is intended to leave people with a sense of belonging by leaving their own constellations in the sky as a repository and sharing a virtual stargazing experience with others. The platform is created with minimal interactions to simulate how people might typically stargaze with a group in-person. When the user click a button and see a myriad of constellations that they never thought they’d see, it reminds them that there are people, that there is something in the universe, and that sense of discovery makes them realize that they are part of a larger world. This project was first prototyped in p5.js at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, and is now being prototyped in Unity for more immersive experiences.


1 - Draw constellations in the sky (Click each dots and connect them)


2 - Name them (type a name, link with each constellations, and store those data)



3 - Stargaze together (Press “STARGAZE” and all the constellation data stored by each player will appear in the sky)




FIND A CONNECTION WITH EACH OTHER WITHOUT THE NEED FOR VERBAL COMMUNICATION


An important part of our design process was having people to communicate on a deep emotional level. In the process of iteration, we stripped away the direct interactions, such as conversations that can happen between people. Instead, we kept the interaction to a minimum - just by creating a constellation, naming it, and stargazing it together. We believe that acknowledging others not only creates a deeper connection between people, but also expands your world. When you click a button and see a myriad of constellations that you never thought you'd see, it reminds you that there are people, that there is something in the universe, and that sense of discovery makes you realize that you are part of a larger world.







CREATION PROCESS


This project was first prototyped in P5.js at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in 2020. 

We brainstormed ideas for connecting people trapped indoors in a pandemic situation and envisioned the interactions that would accompany them.
An important part of our design process was having people to communicate on a deep emotional level.
During the iteration process, we stripped away direct interactions, such as conversations, that could occur between people. We kept the interaction to a minimum: creating constellations, naming them, and stargazing together. While replicating the actual act of stargazing, we also believe that meaningful experiences will lead to deeper connections between people, even if that is minimal interaction. This decision also came from rethinking how best to interact online as a result of us feeling drained with the amount of time we spend socializing online due to the pandemic.


Initial sketch on Figma


With this project, I learned that developing the prototype on a daily basis was possible by dividing up tasks into small chunks while programming the interactions. This also helped us move as a team and allowed us to have productive and meaningful conversations on a daily basis and keep the project moving forward without burning out.



PROJECT DEVELOPMENT (FEB 2022 -)


My next step was to create a new prototype using Unity. As I wanted to make the experience more immersive, I wanted to embody the project in VR.  This work is still in progress and I hope to do some user testing once the first prototype is done. 


Started from generating stars. First thing I needed to fix was to separate the stars that are coliding with each other

Connecting stars


Completing the interaction of connecting, naming, stargazing

At this stage, as I wanted to create a 360-degree view within VR, I switched to generating stars using a particle system




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