PROBLEM
2033 Projections:
- Long distance relationships  will become more prevalent
- The physical distance between LDR couples will increase
Projection Factors:
- New and emergent technology (Saltz, 2009)
- Increased radius of cities and urban environments due to improved transportation (West, 2017)
- Newer, faster transportation methods like hyperloops, which could become viable transportation options for both cities and entire countries by the end of the 2020s (Economist, 2017)
Given the challenges of LDRs, their growth has implications for individual couples and a more mobile society where social bonds require new methods of deliberate maintenance due to increased distance. Current and future couples are and will be affected.​​​​​​
DESIGN PROCESS

Data Date was built upon the known and existing challenges of LDRs, and projected outward into 2033 based on world trends in mobility and technology. 

Step 1: LDRs and Project Focus
To better understand and design the necessary features of Data Date, the team first interviewed long-distance couples about pain points and opportunities in long-distance relationships. Based on this feedback, dining experiences emerged as an area missing from and desired within LDRs. The team accordingly focused on this domain and conducted a detailed user-journey analysis on dining experiences, including a role-play to identify key touchpoints. Taste, emotion, touch (pulse), and memory were identified as critical to an intimate dining experience, each with varying levels of difficulty for communication across a digital platform. 
In deciding how to quantify and communicate intimate aspects of dining, the team looked to current technology and projected trends and possibilities for 2033.
Step 2: 2033 World Drivers
Mobility and increased data and quantification emerged as prominent themes during project research. Both suggested drivers for changes in LDRs, mobility increasing the number and distance of LDRs while data and quantification might mitigate an LDR’s challenges. 
Of prime importance was the idea of data intimacy. Technology such as facial recognition software already quantifies emotions within a digital world, and research on brain-computer interfaces (BCI), “computer technology that can interact with neural structures by decoding and translating information from thoughts (i.e., neuronal activity) into actions” (Ramos, 2018) could significantly alter the digital landscape in coming decades. People will be able to feel intimacy through data (Fairbanks, 2018).
SOLUTION
Meals have a long history of bringing people together, including the familiar dinner date, which is currently inaccessible within LDRs. Data Date focuses on such dates as a way to maintain intimacy, offering a multisensory experience different from anything currently available to LDR couples. Ultimately, the solution is one motivated by ample evidence that LDRs can and do flourish when both partners are deliberate in their communication and emotional connectivity (Jiang, 2013; Belus, 2018). By reframing the dinner date for digital, long-distance circumstances while incorporating elements of true face-to-face time—the lack of which is a known stumbling block in LDRs (Dainton, 2009)—Data Date offers a unique tool to help couples maintain LDRs.
Pre-dining: Taste

After both of the parties "arrive" through virtual chat technology, they place their hands on transparent menus atop the table. The menu then scans their historical dining data and makes themed tasting recommendations based on the couple's preferences.
During-dining: Taste, Emotion, and Pulse

A timeline visualizing the five basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami) begins flowing on the table and corresponds to each dish served.

A video camera captures and recognizes each participant’s emotions. The Data Date system accordingly analyzes the couple's alignment on six key emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, surprise, and fear) and provides a visualization.

The artifact at the center of the table communicates each person’s pulse through soft vibration, as if the couple were physically holding hands and feeling heartbeats.
Post-dining: Memory

At the end of the meal, each person receives a souvenir that, when scanned with smart glasses, replays joyful moments from the date as augmented-reality (AR) videos.

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