Josh Barnes, a 3D Design graduate from the University of Brighton, joined the Studio as a Graduate and New Talent resident n 2013 to develop his Communication Quilt project.

Originally designed to combat symptoms of loneliness experienced by children spending long stays in hospital, the Communication Quilt uses Augmented Reality [AR] technology to enable intimate peer-to-peer communication. By augmenting personal messages onto the illustrations that make up the quilt, it provides a playfully alternative platform for friends and family to share stories and communicate, utilising the inherently magical nature of AR technologies.

Each animal on the quilt can be linked to a friend or family member, who can in turn leave digital messages for the child to read using a smart device. This highly personal form of communication is more meaningful to the child than anything a facebook message alone is capable of. Simultaneously the intimate tactile nature of the quilt also serves as a physical source of comfort which, when combined with the personal messages, provides a greater sense of security to the child in what is a potentially distressing time

Having dual interests in both the making of objects and the interactivity of digital technologies, Josh Barnes' work looks to synthesising these two interests together into new hybrid forms of expression and meaning. As a designer he looks to re-approprtiate new and old media, and facilitate relationships between objects and people that fulfil some of our higher human needs of meaning.

Building upon what was a final year project at University, Barnes is now looking to deeper investigate how children and adults interact with AR technology through user-testing different scenarios and user-experiences while at Pervasive Media Studio. He will also be looking to address any ethical issues the project may pose by designing the system in such a way that brings a family closer together through the quilt, in ways such as group customisation and the viewing of messages communally as a family.By the end of the residency he will be looking to create a Kickstarter campaign to developed a specialist app for the project.

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