Insights While BEACHGROOM.in
Experience: Digital & Tangible
Type: Digital Landscape Concept
Objective: A digital and immersive experience for cancer patients to explore their ritualized places to help restore their mind, body and spirit.
Insights while BEACHGROOM.in
Context: Cancer patients have rituals involving places they go to in order to contemplate, to forget their disease, to find calm or to mediate, but sometimes their body or treatments immobilize them - keeping them from these comforting acts.
Problem: How might we help cancer patients continue performing their personal rituals of returning to specific places even when they physically can not?
Solution: A digital and immersive experience for cancer patients to explore their ritualized places.
Users discover their special place on a micro level, enjoying the details - creating a space for the mind to explore.
Project: Design a tool to help embody a place.
Scope: Understand limitations of cancer patients, keep technology simple, familiar and intuitive, design an immersive experience that can translate from screen to experiential
Goal: Design a solution that embodies a ritualized visitation of a special place that helps cancer patients find comfort.
What is Beach Grooming?
Beach grooming refers to the practice of removing debris and seaweeds from sandy beaches. Grooming may be done by a variety of methods, but typically involves the use of large tractors with rakes that are pulled behind. Beach grooming is a widespread practice throughout the United States.
When my father was diagnosed with cancer I was dumbfounded. Mortality was redefined for him, myself and family. I moved back home to New York from Chicago to spend more time with him. I worked part-time to pay the bills and on my days off I took him to the beach no matter the weather. It was only 4 miles away yet it felt like another planet we could escape to. We thought of it as our ritual. Exploring the sands. Examining the shells, seaweed, half-eaten crabs, the steadfast seagulls.
There were days when dad couldn’t go to the beach. He was too tired from his treatment or his body was just exhausted. This inspired me to find a solution to his immobility. The beach was good for his mind, body and spirit - so if his body couldn’t go - how could we continue to maintain the mind and spirit?
On each excursion to the beach I began to bring a small, portable battery-powered flatbed scanner with me. I would pick random spots of the beach and scan them. I began building a simple website where the user could scroll infinitely up and down, left and right, exploring the micro world of the beach on their screens.
It was like designing a landscape.
Beachgroom.in began as a website that someone could explore using their web browser on any device.
Then the concept moved to immersing someone’s body into the newly designed landscape. A projector would display Beachgroom.in while in another room or remotely someone else would control the movement of the landscape. It would be about getting lost and disorientation.
A future concept - would involve creating a VR (Virtual Reality) experience where users could rearrange the landscape and explore their creations from the building blocks like Minecraft.