As the digital age flourishes bringing about immersive new technologies, we find ourselves spending more time in front of our screens and less time out in the ‘real world’. This can result in limited social skills, lack of self-confidence or lack of companionship amongst children and adolescents. Through an experimental process, our aim was to connect what is fantasy and what is real, while highlighting the beauty of the physical world.
Imaginary friends have been shown to provide various benefits to children through their development. Yōsei (the japanese word for spirit) provides the role of a digital companion that acts as an imaginary friend to help children enjoy the benefits of both worlds. This conceptual project aimed to explore the physicality of Yōsei along with the types of interactions it provides.
Yōsei is a metaphor for a spirit guardian that accompanies you through life, manifesting itself in different ways in the physical and digital world.
Yōsei is constantly evolving. It understands the content and emotional state through language recognition and sentiment analysis, and also picks up data on your environment and your digital life. The information is collected throughout your life to build your profile which, in turn, informs Yōsei’s behaviour.
It engages with children in different ways, using visual and aural stimuli and through action. For infants, Yōsei can detect noise levels and motion to provide feedback to parents and comfort baby. For children, Yōsei can encourage child to go on adventures and help child to find stories to read and limit media consumption. For teenagers, Yōsei can encourage teen to discover new places, and find new interests.
Project in collaboration with Bilal Raja and Yeting Jiang.
2015 | Keio Media Design