Alive Memoir

Akshay Baweja
Akshay Baweja
Akshay Baweja is a creative technologist, researcher, and artist creating interactions that focus on non-screen-based displays. He believes non-visual information perception to be the future of human-computer interactions.
Thesis Faculty
Harpreet Sareen
Loretta Wolozin
Aya Kaprinska
Louisa Campbell

Alive Memoir is a voice-only social interaction platform designed for the elderly in the shape of a tangible planter. It enables the elderly to share and perceive experiences and stories from people around the world. These stories are expected to range from their daily experiences or some bundled memories of different emotions from their past, things they cherish, love, or hate.

The planter is designed to look organic, hence the pentagonal shape. A significant inspiration is drawn from the crystal ball (fortune-telling ball), where the fortune-teller gets to know about some other person.

Moreover, the planter also consists of tactile tiles. The choice of tactile tiles is preferred over touch tiles. The initial user interviews and testing indicate that older adults are more comfortable with tactile user interfaces over touch interfaces.


In a 2-week user testing period, the initial conversation started on a user’s story about his immigration adventures to Germany, the USA, and many more in his youth. This conversation grew and initiated a common connector between the users. The users extended this conversation further to how their initial days and their struggles were at the time as immigrants. Interestingly, none of the users yet know each other yet nor did they ask about personal details of one another.

Another exciting conversation that emerged through the initial user testing was about their memories and experiences in their early marriage years and the places they traveled with their respective spouses. The conversations had a joyful tone and an untold emotion as if they were reliving their past memories as they narrated.

Future Work

Another angle I want to explore through Alive Memoir is inter-generational storytelling which can be preserved for ages to come and have future generations know their great grandparents through their voice and life experiences, a form of intergenerational storytelling. This can also become an archive of stories by locals, which can be preserved for generations to come. Alive Memoir can also be extended and repurposed for health risks that require a companion(s) for the healing process to be fully effective.

Want to know more?
Visit Project Documentation