"Highlights" is a family device with which parents can capture the special moments of their children's growth. Every now and then, parents can take a new picture of each child marking their new height. The height is marked manually and traditionally using a marker on the wooden board of the device. At the same moment, parents can take a picture of the child (main picture). With ”Highlights”, it is also possible to take and store pictures at anytime (random pictures). All pictures are on the cloud and ready to be shared, however, the main pictures are the only ones displayed on the device. In this way, other devices, e.g. a picture frame, other people can access both main and random pictures of each child and browse through them. The latest picture of each child is always updated on the frame. The device allows to add new users. Each user can represent a family member, or other close friends. It can even represent a group to take a yearly family picture for example. Finally, having the different heights marked on the wooden board of the device, create a vertical timeline which allows a scrollable experience in viewing pictures through the years.

Interface and interaction modality

“Highlights” is a physical device connected to the cloud. The device have the feeling of a camera, as this is its main function, taking pictures. To scroll through the pictures, the user has to hold the device itself moving it up and down. Users can further interact with it using a single knob. This knob is placed on the left side of the device, as a metaphor of the user taking a picture of himself. Using the knob, either by turning it right or left or by pressing it, the user can navigate through the different functions of the system. By default the the device shows the pictures of the actual user (view mode). With a single press on the knob, the user activate the camera (in random mode). A secondary click will simply capture the picture. After that the device go back to the view mode.

If the user want to take a new height mark, this is the process to follow. First by pulling out the measuring board on the top of the device, the user is able to easily mark the correct height of the child by adjusting the device position until the measuring board is exactly on the child’s head. After the mark is written, the measuring board has to be returned back and the handle on it will serve as highlight of the mark. At that point, by pressing the knob for three second the camera is activated (main mode), afterwards a simple click will capture the picture related to the height of the child. After that the device go back to the view mode. This picture will then be displayed when the device is at that mark height.

To add a new user, one have to enter first the main mode, then press the knob for another three seconds.

Finally by turning the knob users can be changed.

User experience

The user experience is a pleasurable fun experience for both the children and the parents. Children can take pictures as many as they want, with their friends, their favorite toys, and even their pets. It makes it also easy for parents not to miss their children’s special moments if they are away or at work. The interaction is quite intuitive, its like using a camera. However some key functions hard to access, as a parental control over the device (like adding new users, or taking official pictures). All pictures are on the cloud and can be shared or used by any other device or application.

Research and development context

As a result of connected objects and internet of things, “Highlights” is a device which allows sharing and keeping family memories. The context in which this project was developed was to make it easier to keep track of the growth of children. This is achieved through storing their heights, their pictures, keeping and also sharing those memories in a fun manner using a simple connected device at home.