Project Name: FlattEar Me
Project Members: Ramona Caprariu, Kylie Caraway, Sana Shepko
Project Description: FlattEar Me is a wearable device that takes the form of earmuffs. FlattEar Me’s literally keep you warm and fuzzy at all times, from the large, wool earmuffs, to the sweet sounding compliments whispered in your ear. When feeling distressed or looking for reassurance, the user presses the button behind their ear and a compliment will play.
Intended Context and Users: FlattEar Me is made for users of all ages. They are best used in cold weather. FlattEar Me’s are most often used outside, during commutes, and in solitude. Compliments play as little or as often as desired; the user is in control of the admiration given.
2-minute video presenting the portable & summarizing the field testing plan & results:
Image of Product:
Image of Product being worn by three group members:
Final Design Files:
Rough estimate for each earmuff: $ 167.21 Each
Today we brainstormed ideas for our final, portable project. This project needs to be off of the breadboard, battery powered, and fully enclosed.
We knew we wanted to make something in the wearable technology realm.
- Clothing that heats up when the temperature is cold outside. Winter-themed wearable technology
- Sensor that sends you a notification on your phone when you have coffee breath, bad breath, breathalyzer
- Mood sensor, mood ring, with colors
- Wearable technology that uses animal defense mechanisms to combat sexual assault – perhaps spikes?
- Whisper Earrings that whisper compliments to you when you’re distressed
After discussing our various ideas, we combined the mood sensor with the whisper earrings. We plan on using a heart rate sensor to measure someone’s anxiety, and based on their anxiety level, they will receive different compliments through a speaker near their ear. This could be earrings and a necklace, an earcuff, a brooch, a headband, a hat, a collar, etc.
We have decided to go ahead and order the music maker feather wing so it will arrive by Friday. We will also need a battery, a speaker, a button, wire, and decorative accessories.
We have finalized (at least almost finalized) our project idea.
In our first iteration, we are set on a wearable device, but we have to figure out how to dock the feather and battery near the earrings.
We realized that we needed something to send the signal to play an audio file. It would be very annoying to have someone constantly saying compliments in your ear. We also looked for heart rate monitors at Creatron, but they were all sold out. The difficulty of finding the heart rate sensors, as well as logistical issues of placing the heart rate monitor on the user easily in conjunction with the earrings/accessories made us abandon the mood sensor for now. While we would like to implement biometric data in further developments, the sensor available to us at this point make that too difficult to execute in our current time constraint.
Therefore, our first step in hardware was making a button trigger audio on the feather. We were first able to make the button mute the audio, but we wanted to reverse this, so we altered the code to only play the audio when the button was pressed.
Our next step was to upload audio onto a micro SD card and test it on the music maker feather wing. None of us had micro sd cards, so for testing purposes Kylie brought her GoPro micro sd card. After many attempts, we realized the GoPro SD card won’t work. It says it will read only, and it won’t allow us to write to the card. When we try to change it to write, or format the card, it won’t let us change anything. Tommy had similar experiences with his GoPro SD card. It seems that Gopro formats the card and it cannot be reverted back easily. Therefore, we have to buy a new SD card.
We went to The Source: bought a microSD card on sale, originally 19.99 but purchased it on sale for 11.99. It is a 16 GB SD Card.
Once we had an SD card with music uploaded, we worked through the Adafruit tutorial for the music maker feather wing. The first step is to solder the pins to the feather wing. Next, we downloaded the VS1053 library to get the music player example working in Arduino. After that we formatted the SD card. One important thing to mention is that the audio files have to be 8 character names (track001.mp3). We also have to make sure our tracks can load easily and aren’t too large. MP3s seem to be the best, as they are compressed to proper sizes and sound decent on the computer.
The example code also has a beep to tell you when it starts, which is helpful but also annoying after a certain point. We commented that out of the code. Unfortunately, when I plug in my MAC headphones, the quality sounds absolutely terrible. It is low volume and the distortion makes it almost unrecognizable. The audio also only plays when we open the serial monitor. We had to comment that section out, so we didn’t have to rely on our laptop to play the audio file.
Today we started by making our build of materials and writing our discussion post detailing the concept/overall development plan for the execution of the three devices. So far, our project is quite expensive – $106.00 each. The working title right now is “CompMEment” with the slogan: ““None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone” – Ralph Waldo Emerson”
We have decided against mini speakers and will go the route of using earbuds instead. This will be easier to implement into your project, they are a more appropriate size, and we aren’t sure that the music maker feather wing version we bought will even work with the speakers we purchased from Creatron.
Our working code so far: https://github.com/sanaalla/exp5TESTING/blob/master/exp5_music.ino
We have also decided to switch from jewelry to some sort of headband with headphones. Could take the form of earmuffs, Yoda ears, flowers, a tiara, etc.
We recorded Ramona saying compliments from a compliment generator online (www.complimentgenerator.co.uk) , such as:
- Everytime you smile, a kitten is born.
- Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s you, you massive legend.
- I once looked at your bum. I regret nothing.
We recorded them on our phone, and brought them into Adobe Audition to export as MP3s.
We tested out the music maker. The sound quality is really awful. It is so distorted and quiet you can’t hear Ramona’s compliment, defeating the purpose of the project. We tried Emilia’s feather wing to see if our solder was the issue, but it sounds bad with her music maker feather wing as well. We tried changing the volume and other settings in the code, but it didn’t change the quality of the audio.
We talked over our project with Nick to fix any issues and get feedback on portions of our project we were uncertain about, such as wiring our project and button onto a headband, randomizing audio files, and sound quality issues. Sana worked with Nick on the code for randomizing what audio track is played, while Ramona and Kylie attempted to fix the sound quality issues.
Ramona and Kylie got nowhere with sound quality issues. They tried altering the audio files, trying different headphones, trying different audio files, with no results. In desperate measures, they asked sound engineer Finlay for help.
FINLAY SAVED US – it was an issue with headphones..?
We need headphones with Tip ring sleeve NOT tip ring ring sleeve (what is used with most headphones today) (VERY VERY IMPORTANT)
Therefore, in order for our project to work, we need either:
- ⅛ in TRS male to ⅛ inch TRRS female adapters
- TRS headphones
We couldn’t find any headphones online that would clarify they were TRS headphones, nor would they show the end of the headphone jack to look for the number of rings.
Kylie went to Walmart and found TRS headphones (they had a graphic of the stereo plug, but she double checked the audio jack by opening the packaging). Sony Clear Sound Headphones for $10.88!
Today we decided to re-brainstorm our name ideas. We changed from CompMEment to something along the lines of: “Voices in my Head”
Ramona also rewrote our script and did a call for volunteers to read compliments (Ramona didn’t want to listen to her voice over and over)
- Your methodology is soooo sound. (Savaya)
- Tommy’s words of wisdom (TOMMY)
- If you tried, you could probably be quite famous. (Savaya)
- Everytime you smile, a kitten is born. (SEAN)
- I’d love to speculate on possible futures with you. (TOMMY)
- I wish I could deep dive into your eyes. (Emma)
- You compute me. (KRISTY)
- Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s you, you massive legend. (EMMA)
- I once looked at your bum. I regret nothing. (KRISTY)
- You’re perfectly layered. Like a lasagne. (SEAN)
We recorded most of our compliments, brought them into Audition to adjust the volume, edit them, and convert them from m4a files to MP3 files, and then we uploaded them to the SD cards. We also wired all three of our projects.
Today we finished recording all of our compliments and uploaded them to all of the SD cards. We began putting together our testing plans today:
- What needs to be done ahead of time?
- Battery must be charged (with a special lithium polymer charger)
- Do you need extra batteries?
- No, our battery is rechargeable.
- What goes into your repair kit?
- Needle and thread
- Electrical tape
- Extra yarn
- Be sure to take “before” photos.
- The Plan
- How will you document your own user experiences while using the device? Notes? Journaling? Photos? Video? Audio recording?
- Notes/ Journaling/ Video
- What will you do to ensure that your data collection methods are consistent for each group member?
- Wear for the same amount of time, we all have the same sound bites to draw from, same functional design, all going to wear on our commutes
- For each group member, what are the dates & times of testing?
- Kylie: Wednesday and Thursday during the day
- Ramona: Wednesday and Thursday after 4 (has work prior to)
- Sana: Wednesday and Thursday after 4
- If there is a reason that (2) 6-hour testing periods don’t make sense, include a proposal for a reasonable equivalent for your device and get sign off from Kate.
- Our wearable is a winter-specific wearable so wearing them indoors for an extended period may prove a little odd and uncomfortable; also because we wear them on our ears, it may be difficult to wear consistently for 6 hours straight.
- Will you be together or having your own experiences?
- Own experiences
- Will you be doing your day-to-day activities or doing a special activity?
- Any other details?
- How will you document your own user experiences while using the device? Notes? Journaling? Photos? Video? Audio recording?
- End of Session Reports
- You are required to create End of Session Reports. Create a survey / form using Google Forms for each group member to fill out at the end of their 6-hour testing periods. You will end up with 6 entries (3 users x (2) 8-hour testing periods.) Link to your form here.
- After – Crunching the data & documentation
- After the field testing, how will your team structure a debriefing conversation?
- We will talk to one another and fill out a survey:
- After the field testing, how will your team structure a debriefing conversation?
- How did FlattEar Me feel after an hour?
- How did it make you feel, in an emoji?
- When did you find yourself pressing the button and why?
- Did you feel like it change your emotional state when you heard the voices?
- Was it intuitive to press the button in that location?
- What recommendations for further development?
- What will you do with the data and media once you find it?
- Incorporate it into our video, and discuss what our next iterations in the future will be
- How will you display or present your observations & findings?
- Make a video with our user journals, videos, and surveys
- Be sure to visually document each prototype after testing is complete and make notes on what state they’re in.
We are also reconsidering our name:
New Name: FlattEar Me
OK OK OK OK..
So we started off the day hopeful because all our wiring was golden from Monday and we had our materials gathered from Michael’s. BUT on Monday, near the end of class, we decided to remove the resistor near the button on our circuit to keep everything more trim and compact and we now, in hindsight, believe this was our error. We started soldering one protoboard with the feather and feather wing and then a small proto board piece with just the button. But we were having loads of issues with playability inconsistency. We thought it may have been the battery (perhaps it wasn’t giving out a full charge, maybe it wasn’t of a high enough voltage, etc.). Then we thought it was the wiring so we unsoldered the button and tried placing it back on the breadboard. BUT then, we found it was having the same inconsistencies in play still. SO, hours later, we thought to reintroduce the resistor (by looking at our preliminary fritzing diagrams, we were reminded of our initial thinking) and lo and behold, a success! But still, only kind of – it doesn’t play endlessly. In the ballpark of every 30-40 presses of the button, we must reset the featherwing music maker. And then it proceeds to play again. The batteries also seem like they need charging fairly often.
We also started building the ear muff components from felt, wool yarn, and hot glue.
We followed the Brit & Co tutorial (linked in our context section) to make the pom pom ear muffs out of the wool yarn.
We wanted the earmuffs to be very large so we could place the electronics within them. In our first attempt, the pom pom looked less fluffy and more like a mop or small dog. This was due to us making the yarn bunch longer in length, rather than more yarn.
We tried again, making the bunch with more yarn rather than longer yarn, and this fixed our prior issue.
After finishing the pom poms, we started making the ear muff piece that presses against the user’s ears. We did this by cutting out a circular piece of felt, and swirling the yarn on top of it.
We realized that glue the pompom and the earpiece to both pieces of the felt sandwich made it lack any structure to place the earbuds in, so we decided to purchase stiff felt and place a piece in the middle of the earmuff, to provide more support for the two pieces along with the earbud.
After hot gluing the stiff felt to the felt sandwich, we glued the pom pom and soft earpiece to the outside of the felt (in hindsight, I wish we had not hot glued this. We later realized we must sew this to make sure it stays in tact, and sewing through three pieces of felt and hard glue proved to be extremely difficult- next time, we will wait to hot glue until the very end).
Our next step was to figure out how we would incorporate the various pieces of hardware onto the headband and earmuffs. While we originally wanted to place the hardware within the earmuff, it came to our attention that the weight distribution would be so uneven that the earmuffs would not be able to be worn and would be extremely uncomfortable. We decided to move the electronic components further up the headband, where we could use the teeth of the headband to hold onto the electronic components. We weren’t sure how hot glue would react to the protoboard, so we decided to zip-tie the protoboard (with the feather, music maker, and battery) to the headband, with the button and resistor on the opposite side of the headband. We continued to use zip-ties to hold the wires and button to the headband. We also used heat shrink (that was not heated up) to hold the wires in place on top. Our next step was to figure out how we would store the battery with the feather without gluing it down. We decided to use velcro to attach the battery to the side of the feather, so that the electronic compartment would not be too tall, and we would have the ability to reach the reset button, as well as the SD card and audio jack. Our last step was wrapping the earbuds around the components, and positioning each of the earbuds to hang down on opposite sides.
As you can see, combining the earmuffs with the electronic headband made us realize that our earmuffs were going to be HUGE. Our next steps are:
- figuring out a way to make a compartment for the electronics that is easily accessible
- cover the rest of the wires
- leave the button visible and functional
We also need to figure out how we are going to implement the earbuds into the earmuffs, so they will be in the proper space and stay oriented properly without swiveling around.
Today was our workshop day! We built some stuff!
Our first step was creating a compartment for the electronics. We used stiff felt and normal felt to sew a box around the electronic components, with a hole for the usb to fit through. We also made a top piece that is sewed on one side, so we can flip it open to change the battery, hit the reset button, or reach the SD card.
The earbuds were swivelling
around too much with the zip ties, so we decided to use duct tape to fasten the earbuds into the exact spot we wanted them to lay. We went ahead and built all three headbands the exact same way, before we began layering the felt on top of the electronics.
We cut small strips of felt and layered them on top of one another, hot gluing the pieces as we went. We had to cut a hole out for the button to remain visible. The felt was a good first layer to hide the wiring, as well as create a cushion for the earmuffs.
Our next step was placing the earbuds within the earmuffs, and attaching the earmuffs to the headband. This took two sets of people and a bit of finessing. We attempted to measure where the earbud would fall in relation to the headband and earmuffs. This was dependent on the person wearing them, as well as the earmuff size.
Our next step was fastening the earbuds within the earmuffs. We first realized you could not hear the compliments very well through the felt and wool yarn, so we decided to cut a small hole for the earbud to fit into. This was a very difficult task, as our scissors did not like the felt, and the hardened hot glue was very tough to cut through. If we were to do this again, we would cut the holes for the earbuds before gluing the pieces together.
To fasten the earbuds to the earmuffs, we superglued the back of the earbud to a piece of felt. We were worried that placing hot glue on the earbud would melt and ruin the earbud, and we didn’t want to take that risk. We essentially used the piece of superglued felt as a piece of tape by stretching the felt and hot gluing it to the inside of the earmuff.
Next, we hot glue the felted headband to both sides of the earmuff, as well as poured more hot glue within the earmuff and sandwiched it together. This took large amounts of glue, and the earmuff would still open up on the edges, so we decided to sew around the edge to keep them secure and intact.
After attaching all of the earmuffs to the headbands through hot glue and sewing, we attached more wool yarn in order to hide the blue felt, create more cushion and warmth, and to make the earmuffs more aesthetically pleasing. We wrapped pieces around the headband, hot gluing as we went. We made sure to avoid wrapping over the button, the USB slot, and the top of the electronics compartment.
Voila! We completed all three earmuffs, and they look almost identical, yet they each have their own personalities based on the fluff on their muffs.
User Testing Plan
For our user testing, we decided to rely on notes, journals, and photos. Video recordings seemed to be an ineffective tool for information gathering, because our project relies on personal experiences with discrete audio and a small button, versus visual cues and feedback or shared participatory experiences. We also decided that we would not wear these in 2 6-hour sessions, rather we would wear them during all of our commutes, while we are outside, and at other times we deemed plausible. We wanted to wear our earmuffs when we would normally wear them day-to-day, rather than forcing them into a specific timeframe. We believed wearing them for 6 hours straight could potentially negatively impact the information we gathered, as well as it being uncomfortable and awkward to wear in situations when we are at work or in class, etc.
User Testing Questions and Survey:
Before going out and testing our product, we decided to create a survey of questions / Google Form (https://goo.gl/forms/VEIMrOI7euqUYZc92) for us to fill out after testing. We decided on these questions:
- How did FlattEar Me feel physically after your session?
- Was it comfortable?
- Did you feel like it changed your emotional state when you heard the voices?
- Was it intuitive to press the button in that location?
- When did you find yourself pressing the button and why?
- How often did you press the button?
- What recommendations would you have for further development?
Personal Reflections of User Testing:
Sana user testing:
In general, the earmuffs feel very comfortable. As far as these headphone type things go, they’re much looser than bluetooth earphones which actually makes them easier to wear for long periods of time. I first tested them out on my walk back to home from the subway (around 20 minutes) and they actually did a GREAT job of keepings my ears warm. The music maker wing worked for the entirety of the walk, up until the point I walked into the house; I am tempted to believe that this is a change of state kind of thing that might have affected it? As in the change of temperature might have disrupted the fragility that we have learned is the music maker? These actually (and not to toot our own horn here) did have a positive effect on my mood. Before putting them on it was a pretty normal commute experience, but I think just the fact that I was wearing this ridiculous headpiece and knew why people were staring at me as I walked by added this bit of hilarity, in addition to the fact that I could hear Tommy’s voice saying “YASSS QUEEN” when I pressed the button. All in all, the only thing I wish we could fix is aesthetic so I don’t feel quite so self-conscious wearing this in public… well, and I suppose the need to reset the music maker feather whenever it decides to freeze on us.
Also they do feel a little like they’re about to slip off all the time, and figuring out where to situate the earmuffs so that the earbud is right over your ear isn’t very intuitive. However, even when the sound isn’t being played right into my ear, the voice recordings are still fairly clear; but in situations where you’re in a loud space it might be a little hard to hear so that’s something that we should consider.
Kylie User Testing:
I wore my earmuffs during my commutes in between school and home, on my walks around my neighborhood with my dog, and around my house. Here are some of my notes and journal entries I wrote down during my user testing experience:
- The earmuffs are very warm. I have never worn earmuffs before, and I do not own a pair, so I was a new user to earmuffs. They kept me very warm outside, which was great in the cold – not so great when worn inside.
- The earmuffs were very comfortable and soft at first. After a while, my head felt squeezed and compressed, and my ears started to hurt from the pressure, as well as the earbuds (I have a big head and small ears, so this is probably an issue with me more-so than the earmuffs)
- The earbuds are made for specific ears (one for the left ear, one for the right ear) and we didn’t make it obvious which way to wear the earmuffs, so I found myself wearing them backwards numerous times, and I had to reverse them. It would be great if we could make it more obvious which way to wear them.
- I kept having to readjust them on my head. They either felt like they were in the wrong spot on my head and right spot for my ears, or wrong spot for my ears and right spot for my head. It was tricky to measure these for each person, and it would be tricky to make a pair that fits every user, but I think in the next iteration we would need to finesse the measurements to fit better.
- The earmuffs are (obviously) very big, and due to the electrical components within them, they are very heavy. If I rotated my head or looked down at all, they would fall off my head. This was my biggest issue with the earmuffs so far.
- The earmuffs are also a dog magnet. My dog has gone to extreme measures to try and get ahold of my earmuffs (from attempting to climb my dresser, to using the chairs near my dining table as steps to get on top of the table.) Other dogs are also mesmerized by them when I walk near. Perhaps they look like a small animal?
- I also felt very self-conscious and silly when wearing them. People definitely notice how huge they are (or maybe I am more aware of people looking at me?) I was anxious wearing them at first, but the first compliment i pressed was Tommy’s words of wisdom. It made me smile and laugh, and it did make me feel better and happier. My attention was drawn away from my head as a bowling ball size and more towards feeling good about myself.
- Overall, I really like the compliments we selected. They are fun and silly, but also reassuring. I found myself wanting a larger variety of compliments, so that could be another iteration we could do in the future.
- In my first session walking around, I was only able to receive about 8 compliments before they stopped working. My battery had died. The battery life seems relatively short on my pair, so I have to recharge them often.
- After leaving them to charge overnight, I was able to get about 40 or so compliments before having to reset the feather. I think I have to reset the feather from timing out, or once I hit about 30 compliments or so. I also think the battery life is good for about 50 or so compliments.
- I think the volume is a good amount, but I have also worn them when I am in quiet spaces, such as the subway or walking outside. Other people have commented that they are too quiet. Perhaps this is because the users are in loud spaces, or the earmuffs are measured for my own head and ears, so they don’t fit properly on other users.
- Overall, I really like the emotional response this had on my user testing, I just wish the earmuffs were not as huge / ostentatious and a bit more comfortable. I found that I could not wear them for longer than 1 hour at a time. I had to give my ears a rest.
Ramona User Testing:
I similarly wore my earmuffs on my commute to and from work/school and I also tried wearing them around the house a couple times but was met by too much curiosity from my cat who would not seize chasing me around. On my commute, I was initially quite comfortable wearing the ear muffs because of their warmth and comfort, but as I wore them longer, I was more aware of the imbalanced structure on my head. I had to be very cautious of moving my head too quickly or looking down because I was so nervous they would fall off. Wearing them during rush hour was also very uncomfortable to me because it was then that I was hyperaware of their size and I felt a little pompous and extravagant. I did find myself reaching for the button more in these moments, to distract myself and maybe to also make it more obvious to people that I was ‘doing’ something with the earmuffs. As for the earmuffs themselves, I believe they worked as intended. When I was wearing them at the restaurant I work at (right as I was leaving), I found the noisy atmosphere made it quite difficult to hear the compliments. But all in all, volume was not that big of an issue for me. More often than not, a low volume was because I was wearing the ear muffs incorrectly (the earbud positioning was then off). I also found the battery life to have been less than expected, but still not requiring more than a couple charges a day (each at about 30mins). I was able to use them in a context and a way that was conducive to my life. I had quite the positive experience testing these – I was proud of what we had made and in the beginning, that definitely coloured my perspective (as I was in such a good mood). But as I wore them longer, I was able to point out the flaws in design and that first-hand/lived experience was ultimately so helpful.
Data collection from survey:
Here is the data we received from user testing. We filled out our survey to view our own feedback. We additionally asked others from our cohort who tried FlattEar Me on to fill out the survey:
Our Overall Summary of User Testing:
Based on the survey above, this is a summary of the data we received:
- FlattEar Me leans on the comfortable side for users
- FlattEar Me improves the user’s mood, with the majority feeling happy, and others feeling both amused and… a little bit gassy?
- While the button was pressed numerous times when worn by users, the button location is not intuitive.
- The button was pressed when people were curious, bored, or wanted to hear all the compliments, rather than when they were wanting a mood boost.
- The data is widespread for how often FlattEar Me would be used, from “never” worn to “always” worn, with more users leaning on the “always” worn side.
- Recommendations include: color options, less lint and fluff, change in button location, and making the earmuffs lighter in weight… We were also told to make them larger??
As a group, we agreed that these were a bit awkward to wear out in public, but the compliments were self-esteem boosters and made us laugh and happy. We would like to implement more compliments for a greater variety and surprise. We also noted the weight of the earmuffs, and that they became a sort of balancing act to wear during commutes. The button location was also an area of discussion – perhaps it should be placed lower on the earmuffs, or within the pom pom of the earmuff, because it is a bit uncomfortable and awkward to press at this moment.
Our Next Steps and Future Iterations:
As we move this project forward, there are a few iterations we would like to make:
- We would like to work on the button location, making it more intuitive for the user
- We would like to address the size and weight of the earmuffs, making them easier and more comfortable to wear, store, and transport.
- We would like to increase the number of compliments for a greater variety
- We would like to change the design of the earbuds, making them more comfortable, louder, and suitable for various users. This could mean using speakers instead of earbuds.
- We would like to find a more inconspicuous way to store the electronics, while still making them accessible for the user.
- We would like to address issues with the music maker needing to reset after so many compliments, as well as the battery dying in a relatively short time span.
- We would like to find ways to decrease the price of these earmuffs, making them more affordable for users.
- We would like to make different designs and colour options, as well as an option more suitable for other seasons, such as a summer version.
References & Context:
FlattEar Me would not have been made without the help of Adafruit’s music maker feather wing, the Compliment Generator, and Brit + Co’s pom pom ear muffs tutorial. Adafruit gave a step by step tutorial (https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-music-maker-featherwing/overview) to help users with the music maker feather wing, from soldering the right pieces, to diagrams of the different pins available, to downloading the proper libraries and giving example code with fantastic notes and references. The Compliment Generator (http://www.complimentgenerator.co.uk/) gave us a script to work off of for our compliments. While we used some homemade compliments, we also used some of their compliments within our project. Brit + Co’s tutorial (https://www.brit.co/how-to-make-pom-pom-ear-muffs/) provided a different reference, as it helped us gather materials and form a product that we felt was capable of hiding the hardware components within the material. We were also mesmerized by the photo of the dog with the pom pom earmuffs.
Other wearable technology in headband form includes the Sparkfun illuminated pom pom headband (https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/led-pompom-headbands/advanced-pompom-headband) as well as the Crystal Headband that lights up via LEDs (https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/led-crystal-goddess-crown?_ga=2.35831017.830944120.1512079637-721508807.1510938523).
While we moved away from using biometric data to send compliments when the user is upset or stressed, we were motivated by other wearable technology that uses biometric data as an input. The AWElectric (https://makezine.com/2016/06/08/sensorees-biometric-jacket-has-3d-printed-goosebumps-that-move/) is a wearable technology that renders visual and tactile signals through lights and fractal goosebumps that raise out of the clothing when the user is in awe.
We would be remiss to not include where we first received the idea of complimenting accessories: 20th Century Fox’s Aquamarine (2006). In this film, a mermaid by the name of Aquamarine totes starfish earrings that give her compliments. She declares, “They literally give me compliments – in my ear. They talk to me. Starfish are notorious suck-ups. They love to give compliments. But it’s nice when you need a little boost.”
Compliments are an important aspect of our social lives. According to Psychology Today, (https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200403/the-art-the-compliment) if compliments are given correctly, “they create so much positive energy that they make things happen almost as if by magic” (Marano 2004). “Focusing on and noticing the good qualities in the world around us gives our moods a boost all by itself” (Marano 2004). Earmuffs are also considered one of the most popular inventions, as they received attention on HowStuffWork’s Stuff of Genius (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpHRwXXkZnw) for keeping millions of ears warm and toasty. Therefore, the combination of earmuffs and compliments can keep people warm and fuzzy on the inside and outside!
Aquamarine. Directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, 20th Century Fox, 2006.
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Neidlinger, Kristin. “Sensoree’s 3D Printed Fabric Animates Your Goosebumps.”Make:, 8 June 2016, makezine.com/2016/06/08/sensorees-biometric-jacket-has-3d-printed-goosebumps-that-move/. Accessed 8 Dec. 2017.