Increasing mindfulness of distractions with ambient IoT

The project was a 3-week design project for the class Design for the Internet of Things, taught by Prof Daragh Byrne at CMU.

Time Frame

Nov-Dec 2021
(3 weeks)
3D Printing,
Interaction design
Physical Computing
Amal Jafrani
Isha Hans
Priya Jain

My role 🙋🏻‍♀️
I was the designer and prototyper for this project. I was responsible for creating visual artifacts, including the design sketches, storyboard,  and interaction flows, and handled the 3D printing process and making of the physical prototype.

Blossom is a connected ambient device, shared between friends, to help them stay focused and be mindful of distractions. 

Demo Video

Design + Implementation Process 

Intention & Inspirations 
We explored the space of productivity and remote connection between friends. Our product, Blossom, allows friends to have the sentiment of "working together" even if they are physically apart. In the meantime, we want to increase their mindfulness about distractions from digital devices, specifically their cell phones, when they are trying to stay productive.

We took the approach of creating a piece of “calm/ambient technology”, emphasizing the unobtrusive nature of our design and making it something in the background that is glanceable and noticeable, but does not require too much cognitive effort.

Ambient We make use of ambient behavior to give gentle glanceable reminders for users to stay focused and be more mindful about distractions.

Social ProofSocial proof is the concept that people mimic other people’s accepted actions and behaviors. When one person is aware their friend is working, they are more likely to stay focused as well. There is a tacit social contract that occurs through the usage of the device.

Conceptual Design
When the person (user 1) is ready to start working, they can use a button to turn on their focus mode, which will light up the flower representing them on both friends' devices. The flower will start to gently breathe, prompting the user to place the phone on the bottom platform of the device. Once the phone has been put down, the light will become stable.

If the friend (user 2) sees that user 1 is focusing, they can be motivated to also start their focus session. In that case, the procedure above will be repeated, after which both flowers will then light up on each person's devices.

During their focus time, if any of the two users gets distracted and picks up their phone, the flower representing this person will once again start to gently breathe on both devices. This breathing motion is designed to capture the user's attention in a non-intrusive way and remind them of their own distractions, thereby gently nudging them to go back to work.

When the focus session is over, the user can turn off the switch. By the end of each week, the user will receive an email, summarizing their focus time last week and how many times they get distracted.

User Flow




Final Design

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