This doctoral research has created and explored e-textiles as catalysts for social connectedness. Prototypes including the Dundee Conversation Quilt and Soft Sound Spheres have been designed with older adults with experience of loneliness. The prototypes encourage sensory and interactive experiences to support essential interpersonal exchanges and encounters that contribute to feelings of belonging and social connectedness.
Dundee Conversation Quilt
Combining textures, sights, sounds and songs from the city of Dundee, the Dundee Conversation Quilt supports storytelling and sense of identity and place. Used within a group context, the quilt encourages conversation around shared experiences, heritage and knowledge. The quilt has been on tour around different community and care home groups, and shown at EVA London Digital Futures and V&A Dundee, and has successfully supported social interaction and relationship building which are essential to social connectedness
Soft Sound Spheres
Four sensory spheres have been constructed from textiles of differing tactile and aesthetic qualities to encourage social interaction. Users actuate the sounds within each sphere through specific interactions related to the individual characteristics of the sphere and materiality For example, the fluffy sphere (far right) is actuated with a stroking motion and produces soothing sounds to emulate a sense of companionship with a loved pet.