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Visual Empathy in Collaborative Discussions


Research Lead, UI, Prototyping


10 weeks



Our project lighthouse is both an app and a device that works hand in hand to aid in active listening and empathy in group conversations.


The lighthouse device will visualize an individual's performances by color and opacity and send the collected data to the app that will show analysis of voice valence, arousal, and speech frequency to encourage participation and active listening.

Additionally in the app, the users can access their performance skills through data visualization. We hope that Lighthouse will be the helping hand to encourage empathy for better group conversations in the future.

The Problem

Group projects face difficulty to reach desired goals due to the lack of empathy and active listening in conversation.


The Solution

 Core functions

Capturing voice tone to detect emotions

Utilizing AI technology to capture language cues

Analysis and visualization of data

This is a product shot of the image. The product is a small round square shape with a screen no top. On the corners of the screen will have bars that will represent each person participating in a group conversation. These bars will change color and size depending on participation and the tone of voice. The device also features 4 directionnal mics for a 360 degree voice detection. Finally, there is an easy pairing with the app using NFC ( Near Field Communication )
This gif shows the three pages of Energy, Attitude, and Speech Frequency.
The addition of the Lighthouse app will allow individuals to refer to their personal data to make improvements in their conversational skills after the meeting as well as their development over time.
The Lighthouse app will show three graphs being energy(arousal), attitude(valence), and speech frequency to encourage participation and active listening.
This is gif that shows the 'Your Oveview' section of the app.
A diagram expaining how Lighthouse works. The Lighthouse device uses AST (Automatic speech recognition) and NLU ( natural language understanding). This data is sent to the Rest API ( Application Programminng Interface ) which will send the data to the Lighthouse app which will use token authentication.

Our Process


For our research, we started off with the question,


What is Conversation?


Conversation is: between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.


Ideas are exchanged the most when we collaborate.

And collaboration happens in group work/projects.




Diary Studies

Based on our primary and secondary data we created a guiding HMW question as well as some insights to better understand opportunity areas.

Survey responses


People are fearful of becoming the black sheep of the project.

“I’m scared to give my opinion because I’m scared to be judged.”


“People are too transparent and don’t take other people’s feelings into consideration.”

If you don’t take the time to listen to other people you get associated as a ‘know-it-all’.

“Some people shut you down... they are kinda like bullies.”

There is an unspoken fight for power or competition of approval within a group.

Even if people were confident in their communication skills, 21% still preferred individual projects than group projects. This is because conversations require a lot of effort and soft skills. 

We learned that empathy, in particular, was the most difficult skill to have and achieve in group conversations.

How might we make empathy and active listening in group projects easier for increased productivity?

Want to see more?

Tap on the button to have a look at our process book which has a more in-depth view of our project.

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