Digi Dog

What it is

Digi-Dog is a transitional doll for a new mother and her baby. DigiDog records – in sound – quality times between the two, and allows the mother to listen to these sounds during times when they are separated.

Why we made it

The bond between a mother and her new baby is strong, physically and psychologically. But in the modern world, the separation between them – usually for work – often occurs fast, faster then they both would like. Babies often find comfort in soft objects, such as blankets, pillows, dolls and such. These objects, and especially the “transitional object” often selected by the baby or young child, help babies deal with their longing for their mother.

With a wide perspective of the situation, we decided to create an object for both the mother and the baby. We designed the Digi-Dog: a tear-able hand puppet doll. When the mother and her baby are together, the doll is whole, and the baby can play with it and take it everywhere. In a session of active play with the hand puppet, the mother puts her hand into it, and plays with her baby, making sounds, tickling him and such. The natural action of closing the dolls mouth immediately triggers a recording of the sounds of the interaction – usually vocal sounds made by the mother and gurgling, laughing, or other sounds made by the baby.

When the mother and the baby part, the doll can be separated into two parts for each to take. The baby’s part is larger and contains most of the doll, while the mother’s part is a small cloth piece that detaches from the front. When the mother misses her baby, she smells the piece of the doll (which has absorbed the baby’s smell). This action triggers the doll to play the sounds that were recorded earlier.

We decided that the doll will not use only our most dominant sense – sight, but rather to combine hearing and smell, for these senses are the ones that are more dominant in a baby’s world, and for grownups, they often evoke the deeper childhood memories.

How we made it

The doll is combined of 2 pieces, when these are joined together, indicating that the doll is whole, an electrical circuit is closed.

When the mother puts her hand inside the puppet, and closes its mouth with her fingers, two pieces of conductive fabric meet, and the recording begins. As an indication of the recording, the puppet barks twice in the beginning of it. After a few seconds of silence, the doll recognizes that the interaction has stopper and stops the recording. The indication of the stopping of the recording is a small dog howl.

The mother’s part contains the Lillypad Arduino micro controller, a microphone and a speaker that plays back the interaction. When the mother smells her doll piece, the smelling action (identified via the microphone) triggers the playback of the recorded interaction.

Who made it

David Tal, Noga Amit Miler, Omer Miler.