Part of the
Design United
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Design United


+31(0)6 48 27 55 61


Kompassie: a new means of social interaction

While current remote communication tools are well designed for small groups of four to five people, they tend to be less effective and less meaningful for larger social groups. The act of formally initiating the communication by calling can also act as a barrier and reduce the number of interactions. In real life however, one could simply approach people and initiate conversation. For students and office workers who are in isolation, this hinders the ability to have a social break experience. When they don’t feel the incentive to call someone, their break is often spent alone.

“Kompassie let me relive having a break with friends during isolation.”
Tessa van Abkoude

Kompassie tackles this challenge by shifting from being a call-based, to a location-based communication tool. Users enter a virtual room with their peers or colleagues. In this room, they navigate by holding Kompassie and physically walking in their own house. Doing so, they move closer or farther away from others. While being able to see everyone present in the room, they can only hear and be heard by the people near to them.

This prevents overcrowded conversations in large groups and allows the users to choose who they want to interact with, while always being able to approach or be approached by others. As a result, users can have dynamic social interactions and there can be multiple conversations at once. In this new way of communicating, you can have anything from some simple small talk, to elaborate group discussions in the same call.

“I feel like this could be the future of online communication.”
Chris Bernsen

The outbreak of the Covid pandemic has had a great impact on everyone’s social lives. People work and study at home, house visits have become less frequent and outdoor activities have become limited. For example, where an office break previously provided healthy social interactions for workers, current online communication tools lack the means of replicating those experiences. By design, Kompassie gives back the experience of having a social break.