Wireless image transmission for social communications

Can we only socialise with people with whom we are in close daily contact in the real, as opposed to virtual, world? How can technology be used to connect such dynamic social networks? Is the telephone the right medium for informal communication or are there other solutions that may be less intrusive and more appropriate? These questions define the area for the MAYPOLE project.

Most existing communication devices used by the extended family are designed for things such as sharing knowledge, making appointments and decision making. MAYPOLE chose to take a different approach and to develop communication concepts based on informal interaction. The project is developing concepts that facilitate social interactions like joking, keeping in touch, and other forms of bonding that help to keep families healthy.

The wider availability of mobile wireless communications devices means that sending digital images by these channels is a key area of research. This technology is expected to have a major impact on the way social communication in a non-work-related environment takes shape in the future. Thus two prototype portable terminals have been produced both of which have been used in field trials with families participating in the project. A prototype online World Wide Web version has also been developed.

The two prototype communications terminals and the online web system, capable of managing and transmitting digital images, are on the MAYPOLE stand. Video presentations showing user testing is also on display, along with the results of extensive user research and expert opinion on the subject.

Contact Kay HOFMEESTER, Netherlands Design Institute
tel +31 20 551 65 00
fax +31 20 620 10 31
email maypole@design-inst.nl
website www.maypole.org

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