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Blink: A Language of Love Through Light.

Industry: Public interest & Non-profit
Media:Design & Branding
Market:United States
Style: Minimalism

While the initial brief called for a simple touch screen experience to highlight families and donors, we discovered a powerful theme – families of sick children are often at a loss of words when the unimaginable happens. Even though we know love heals, expressing it is not always easy.This insight, paired with heart-wrenching moments of separation between child and family, made us wonder “what if we could use technology to keep families close without needing any words at all?”With that, we set out on a new trajectory to extend beyond a screen and put tangible devices in the hands of real families. Through technology and light, families remain close when they can’t physically be together.Blink is an innovative physical-to-digital experience that keeps families connectedduring these moments. This custom-built set of devices gives families anunspoken language of love through light during moments of separation and anxiety.

Blink addresses two harsh realities RMHC families continually face: the time they spend separated and their struggle to find the right words to give comfort. By breaking down the barriers of age, language and complexity, Blink simplifies the act of sending love and support during illness. Production began with network connecting the two Blinks’ so they could send light messages back and forth. Then, finding the perfect balance of sensitivity was key in meeting the needs of children receiving treatment. Finally, we tested numerous combinations of LEDs, batteries, sensors and logic boards, while also leveraging the Particle IoT device platform. While the inner components were being finalized, we began searching for device housing. Our choice was Illuminorb multi-purpose decorative balls, since their casing was resilient enough for children. We also collaborated with hospitals to validate the materials passed hospital regulations and that data connectivity would be successful.

Children with serious illnesses often need to travel great distances for necessary medical treatment. This separates them from family, friends and the day-to-day life they know. For these families, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) offer a home away from home close to the child’s treatment facility. This contributes to their mission of keeping families close while seeking the best medical care for their children. Science has proven that children heal faster when near the ones they love. The connection between family members invigorates the spirit and inspires hope. The simple truth is, love heals. Whether during treatments or overnight stays at the hospital, RMHC families have to endure moments of separation, which can be particularly frightening for young children. We set out to help them during these difficult moments.

Our beta families reported Blink created a sense of connectedness during treatment and stated “connection” as an important aspect of well-being as it creates a sense of support, caring and love. Lisa Mitchell, VP, Programs and Services at RMHC Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana remarked: “It’s heart-wrenching for parents to be separated from their kids, especially during treatment. Blink can connect our families in the simplest, most beautiful way possible.”She also commented, “Blink is powerful because it bridges the distance between the house and the hospital to keep families connected. When a child is alone in the hospital, Blink lights up that darkness and brings their family into the room when they physically can’t be together. This is something we’ve never been able to do before.”

Blink is comprised of an accelerometer and Electron that interprets a series of touch and gesture interactions. When a gesture is detected, the Electron translates the message and sends it to the cloud through a 3G connection. The message is then routed to the corresponding Blink, where a set of 6 LEDs flash the message as a sequence of colored lights.Triggered by gestures, color-coded messages are exchanged between two orbs. Shaking one Blink sends the corresponding orb a green-illuminated message saying “Hello.” Two taps send a blue-hued “Goodnight,” and three taps send a glowing pink “I love you.” Messages received during sleep hours are saved in a queue for the morning when a child wakes. We found families enjoyed assigning messages their own unique meaning. To extend Blink beyond the two orbs, we also created an online experience that allows extended family and friends to send love directly to the child’s Blink from anywhere in the world.Blink was optimized through an iterative testing process in 2016 to understand expectations and user interaction. In 2017, Blink was piloted with a select number of real RMHC families undergoing treatment, allowing us to collect real-time data and validate user experience goals.
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Other credit:Entrant Company: SAPIENTRAZORFISH, Chicago, USA
Associate Creative Director, Joshua Koenig, SapientRazorfish
User Experience, Alisa Avigan, SapientRazorfish
Motion, Jacob Minkus, SapientRazorfish
Director Emerging Technology, Thomas John Mcleish, SapientRazorfish
IoT Developer, Pasindu Wewegama, SapientRazorfish
IoT Technologist, Kai Hansen, SapientRazorfish
IoT Technologist, Atul Belur, SapientRazorfish
Technologist, Chrissy Soulakian, SapientRazorfish
Executive Producer, Jonah Mueller, Optimus
Executive Producer, Jonah Mueller, Optimus
Assistant Editor, Ariana DeSimone, Optimus
Audio Engineer, Ben Treimer, Optimus
Finish Artist, Jim Moss, Optimus
Colorist, Luke Morrison, The Mill
Executive Producer, Laurie Adrianopoli, The Mill
Program Manager, Dan Levengood, SapientRazorfish
The One Show 2018
Merit Intellectual Property
Experimental / Internal Projects / R&D
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2017
Shortlist Product Design
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