NEMO: Working together enhances impact

Team NEMO - Natural Emotionality in Digital Interaction - is preparing for the autumn with full steam. The year has taught the team that working collaboratively brings the most impact. Team leader Katri Saarikivi says that she is an introvert herself (believe it or not) and usually likes working alone.  The team organised a hackathon event at the end of August at Yle, where about 30 people, including coders, psychologists and social scientists developed solutions together and broadened discussion around their competition topic. The event was a huge success.

”I’m so happy and thankful for all the wonderful people who came and contributed. We realised that we can’t work alone if we want to make an impact. We must build solutions together with other researchers and scientists to truly create something great”, Saarikivi says. 

And what exactly does natural emotionality in digital interaction mean? The team wants to study if digital interactions could be as natural and rich as those in the physical world.

“We want to change the internet. The internet has gone out of control and shines with the absence of emotions and empathy.”

The basis for their competition idea is a concern for children, who today spend more and more time online and on different kinds of devices. Can children develop social and emotional skills digitally, too? The team is producing information and tools to enrich digital interaction and to develop emotion-based digital content.

The team is surprised with how well things have gone in a situation where the team members participate on a voluntary basis. The team is very motivated as the subject is personally very close to their hearts.

“Helsinki Challenge has presented a way to advance our idea and gather a group of enthusiastic people.”

The project hails from the Cognitive Brain Research Unit at the University of Helsinki. They focus on researching mechanisms related to emotion and creating ways to emotionally tweak existing digital environments. They are currently collaborating with Finland's national public-broadcasting company Yle and copyright organisation Teosto.

Come hear NEMO pitch their competition idea on stage at PitchNight on Thursday, September 3rd. The announcement of the winner of Helsinki Challenge (and 375000€) is announced on Friday, November 13th.

Team leader Katri Saarikivi at their hackathon event at Yle.

TEAM: Team leader Katri Saarikivi (Cognitive Brain Research Unit, UH), Vesa Putkinen (JYU), Tommi Makkonen (UH), Mari Tervaniemi (Research Director, UH), Valtteri Wikström (Soundage), Arto Markku (Development manager at Yle), Johan Sundström (Head of Media production at Yle), Ano Sirppiniemi (Head of Research at Teosto), Turo Pekari, (researcher at Teosto), Kosti Rytkönen (Kuuasema), Wesa Aapro (Yle).