Two Devices to Address the Condition of Prosopagnosia or “Face-Blindness:”
1) Our sketch-pad device is an effort to enable people with face-blindness to freely draw, sketch, or take notes during an interaction. It might include a digital element, an analog element, or most likely, both. We do not imagine that this device would fully compensate for or “cure” the recognition deficit, but rather would serve to change the nature of the conversation, allowing the work that the face-blind person is, in fact, doing to be “surfaced.” (The activity, the physical engagement, of writing or sketching seems to enable more pathways of memory to be developed during an experience.) The structure of stigma, embarrassment, and social damage that is part of the prosopagnosia experience requires a change in the nature of our social and conversational interaction, as much as any therapeutic improvement in the people with the condition—thus part 2:
2) An interactive dialog window to be used by two individuals without prosopagnosia in order to engender empathy for sufferers of the condition. We used polarized plastic pieces in alternating orientation within a frame. One user sits on one side and another on the opposite. Users take turns rotating the polarizing viewfinder, partially obscuring some the facial features and then others, of the other user. Our aim was to disrupt the decoding process that normally takes place when looking at a face.