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FamilyFlower: an Artifical Flower to Foster Distant Family Connections

Donald Degraen; Hannah Hock; Marc Schubhan; Maximilian Altmeyer; Felix Kosmalla; Antonio Krüger
In: MUM 2021 20th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (Hrsg.). 20th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia. International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM-2021), Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 2021.


Modern, globalized lifestyles make physical separation of family members an inevitable part of life. Due to changes in routines and social roles, remaining connected to distant loved ones is challenging and adversely affects psychological well-being. To support relatedness, we created FamilyFlower, an artificial flower aimed at fostering a connection between remote households by bringing awareness of everyday activities and offering basic expressivity. In its environment, each device detects human presence, movement, sound, and touch. In the remote household, the paired prototype responds by respectively opening the flower bud, actuating the stem, altering the seeds' color, and dispensing a fragrance. In a 2-week study of deployment between 2 family members, we collected initial impressions of our prototype, and identified key aspects our system could support in future research. From our results, we see that FamilyFlower supports an awareness of ongoing activities in a distant household and built a feeling of connectedness.