Treetale is an innovation pilot in healthcare that aims to empower those in the final stages of their lives to resolve difficult lingering questions such as related to emotions, feelings, social dynamics, and philosophy by involving their family, friends and caregivers in indirect forms of communication.

Safari description

What is the design challenge?

The challenge is to create an expressive ‘tool’ that nudges dialogue. Treetale is different from a messaging application in that its aim is not to foster instant communication but rather to discover meaningful themes and topics to contemplate in a social setting.

What is the technology challenge? 

The technological challenge is to make the technology ‘disappear’ as much as possible for the end users. Hence, we aimed to make Treetale’s aesthetics (both in terms of visuals and interactivity) feel analog rather than digital. To achieve this we simulated the diffusion and spreading of ink in water and used this as inspiration for visuals and interaction.

What is the cultural/societal challenge? 

Fostering emphatic digitally mediated conversations for highly sensitive contexts.

How are we pushing the state-of-the-art? 

By creating an exemplary meaningful artifact for a highly sensitive context and sharing the process in the spirit of Open Science.

What is the aim of the safari? 

The aim of the safari is to investigate the physical and digital design by developing an artifact that can be used as a case-study, while exploring the new HKU Innovation Studio safari method. 

Playable build

Play the WebGL build of Treetale here.


HKU Innovation Studio (2018). Levenseindeboom. HKU. [Available here]

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