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. 

Project statement

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.

Exploratory Research

Observation

Interview

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

Behavior analysis

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.

Intervention Framework

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.

Design implication

Design principle

Enhance users’ interaction and intimacy with cloud 

pets as they were interacted with real pets.

​Ideation & Concept

Design 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. 

About Coding

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

Thinking before

Empathy map

Seeing before

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

Hearing before

Thinking after

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

Seeing after

Pet with appearance and behaviors you like

 

Pet who do not mess up the house but you can play with

Hearing after

Pet can make a sound when you want, not the noise some time

 

Pet may answer your voice when you call their name

Storyboard

Work Flow

Ideation

Projector technology

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.

Tech support

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.

Wearable technology

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

Interface framework

Moodboard

Many dogs are orange-yellow, like Golden Retrievers, Poodles, and Chow-Chows. Therefore, orange is used as the main color of the interface.

Logo design

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.

Concept Rendering

xinranzh@andrew.cmu.edu | Tel: 86-18038161913    +1-4125834745

©2019 by Zhan Xinran. All rights reserved.