Virtual pet adoption - Homie
More and more people like pets, but they cannot keep a pet for various reasons. On the contrary, it is more convenient to keep a cloud pet for its simple feeding and no need to shovel excrement and worry about death, so I cater to the needs of users who cannot keep pets at home and help forge deeper connections between people and cloud pets.
Simulating adorable pet behaviors in existing pet videos posted by pet bloggers or applying use system-provided behaviors in the user-created pets, so as to allow people and cloud pets very easy to build a connection, which somehow reflects their real-world adoption.
An intrinsic part of human nature: pet-keeping.
However, in the 21st century, more modern people adopt a cloud pet*.
* Cloud pet：More and more people like pets, but they cannot keep a pet for various reasons, so they look for spiritual sustenance through browsing all kinds of pet information in the network.
I conducted 3 short interview with people who do not have a pet and who has, which allows me to go deeper to understand their personal thoughts. And before I went to the interview, I came up with a Hunt Statement to help me guide my semi-structured interview.
Hunt statement (Objective)
I aim to research people’ habits of adopting a real and cloud pet to understand how they interact and contact with pets, and how their attitudes and preference of keeping a cloud pet vary from a real pet, as well as through different pet sharing platforms (Youtube, Weibo, Bilibili & Instagram).
Quote from Interview
Interview Findings & Insights
Basically, the problems of adopting a real pet, such as troublesome care-taking, will be solved by virtual dog keeping, but virtual pets cannot replace the advantages of interactivity and authenticity of a real pet.
Design Implication & Principle
Design should allow people and cloud pets very easy to build a connection, which somehow reflects their real-world adoption.
Increase user’s goodness and encourage more love towards animals.
Provide opportunities for people who do not have much time, space and energy to adopt a pet.
Enhance users’ interaction and intimacy with cloud
pets as they were interacted with real pets.
Ideation & Concept
Simulating adorable pets’ behavior in pets’ existed videos from pet bloggers into pet users created, in order to facilitate users who cannot adopt a pet at home and forge deeper connections among people and cloud pets.
Based on the Countermeasure Generation Network, given a source video of a pet acting, we can transfer that performance to a novel (amateur) target only several minutes after the target subject acts out what the pet in the source video is doing.
People worry about having minor time and energy to adopt a pet
Watching pet videos or playing pet games lack of interaction
Wish their dead or lost a pet to come back alive
Just some pet videos and games on a small screen
Other people’s pet but not themselves
Their own pet does not act as cute as other pet
Pet’s sound coming out from videos or games
Other pet owners’ sound and environment noise could sometimes be annoying
Happy to have a deeper interaction with adorable pets at any time you want
Happy for having own pet but not under so much pressure
Pet with appearance and behaviors you like
Pet who do not mess up the house but you can play with
Pet can make a sound when you want, not the noise some time
Pet may answer your voice when you call their name
The projector can rotate 360 degrees according to the moving direction of the dog. Inside it is a computer connected to the user electric bracelet, which transforms the gestures and voices of users into orders to change the behaviors of the virtual dog.
Projector outlook ideation
The bracelet with built-in voice recognition, accelerometer and a gyroscope, will detect both user’s voice and gesture command. By pairing with laser-radar equipped projector through Bluetooth, the visual dog images will be put on the right position and interact with the user. Like: run to and sitting on the sofa and be petted.
The electronic bracelet with a gesture recognition function can recognize dozens of gestures people often use while playing with dogs. Also, the sound recognition function allows the cloud dog to obey the user’s orders (or not) just like real-life dogs.
Gesture conclusion (examples)
Through collecting pictures and videos of people and dogs interacting in the real world, I transformed different gestures during the interaction into gestures we use to communicate with virtual dogs, and uploaded them to the database of the electronic bracelet.
Gestures that are newly designed for this system
Gestures are based on real interaction thoughts
Many dogs are orange-yellow, like Golden Retrievers, Poodles, and Chow-Chows. Therefore, orange is used as the main color of the interface.
Since the virtual pet is dependent on a projector installed at home, the action area of the dog is limited inside the house. The logo design symbolizes dogs waiting at home for their owners’ return.
The text logo is Homie, which is often used in hip-hop music to refer to brothers and friends. This choice indicates that virtual dogs not only wait for us at home, but also are our good buddies.
Control panel design
The final design adopts a frameless transparent background, without the white background.