Yo–Yo Machines: Self-Build Devices that Support Social Connections During the Pandemic

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Yo–Yo Machines are playful communication devices designed to help people feel socially connected while physically separated. We designed them to reach as many people as possible, both to make a positive impact during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess a self-build approach to circulating research products and the appeal of peripheral and expressive communication devices. A portfolio of four distinct designs, based on over 30 years of research, were made available for people to make by following simple online instructions (yoyomachines.io). Each involves connecting a pair of identical devices over the internet to allow simple communication at a distance. This paper describes our motivation for the project, previous work in the area, the design of the devices, supporting website and publicity, and how users have made and used Yo-Yo Machines. Finally, we reflect on what we learned about peripheral and expressive communication devices and implications for the self-build approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsSimone Barbosa, Cliff Lampe, Caroline Appert, David A. Shamma, Steven Drucker, Julie Williamson, Kota Yatani
Place of PublicationNew York, US
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391573
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2022
EventACM CHI 2022 - 900 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20225 May 2022

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


ConferenceACM CHI 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA
Internet address

Research Group keywords

  • Interaction Research Studio


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