Plants AR

Problem Statement

During COVID-19, socially isolated college students are experiencing higher levels of loneliness, exacerbated by the disconnection from their university communities. Students need a new physical and serendipitous way of connecting with each other. Plants makes it easier to be there with friends "literally".

User Research

Isabella, age 20, a rising dual-degree sophomore. Switching to remote classes, Isabella misses the group work component of classes. With classmates in the same remote class, there had not been opportunities to meet and get to know one another. She said:

"If we've been in real life, we would have, at some point been sitting down in the classroom and be like, Oh hi, what's your name? Just to get to know someone and where they're from. And that doesn't really happen remote at all. At the beginning, I used to video chat with friends a lot. But it just kind of got a little old... I video call two friends in my life frequently. But everyone else is really just text every coupld of days, maybe every week, or a coupld of weeks."

Belen, age 26, a professional studies graduate student. She plans to be back on campus in the Fall as she values meeting people within the community. Although Belen thinks that her classes are well conveyed virtually online, she misses interacting with classmates, sitting next to others, and impromptu conversations. Belen was barely able to make friends whilst taking two classes over the summer. She said:

"The disadvantage is the lack of relationship with my classmates. I wanted to go to Columbia, because I like meeting amazing people."

More interviews

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Mind Map

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Plants AR

Yuanyang Teng, Hajir Al Khusaibi, Ye Xiong, Ian Wach