Silka: a domestic technology to mediate the threshold between connection and solitude

Katarzyna Stawarz, J Garde, C McLoughlin, R Nicolaides, J Walters
in CHI 2012, Conference proceeding, Austin, TX, USA


Families living apart - with relatives and loved ones in different cities or countries - is not unusual. However, even though multiple communication technologies exist, communicating emotions can still be difficult. In this paper we present Silka: a device that supports long-distance communication by sending "smiles" and communicating presence in between traditional modes of communication, with the goal of enhancing bonds between two individuals or households. Silka's design is based on findings from an online survey, interviews and observations conducted to better understand how people communicate with loved ones and how they feel before and after communication. It aims to address worry and anxiety, which we found characterise the period between regular weekly, fortnightly or monthly calls.