Project 1: Design for Wearability [Sigama: Right Behind You]



Sigama: Right Behind You

What & Why

Sometimes when friends and I are riding on our bikes through the city and not everyone knows their way, it’s hard to give directions or communicate without stopping or slowing down. Sigama, a variation on siga-me, which is “follow me” in Portuguese is a wearable tech prototype that is partially worn on a cyclist’s arm and partially fixed to his/her handlebars. The device allows two friends to remotely communicate upcoming left and right turns which are actuated by a button on the handlebars which triggers a vibration on the receivers arm. One long vibration for a right turn and two shorter vibrations to indicate a left turn. The device can be helpful when riders are wearing headphones, or there is a sudden change in destination, or simply when one rider is new to town and doesn’t know exactly how to get to the destination. The cyclist that is following the other, can keep up and anticipate left and right turns without worrying about falling behind or losing the way.

Gemperle Guidelines

1. Placement

Vibrator: lives on the inside of the bicep and is held there with arm warmers (in my case) or with an arm strap.

Button: is held to the handlebars, where the thumb in naturally positioned making the functionality of the button easily accessible while riding. Could go on the right or left side of the handlebars.

Battery/Circuit board: live inside a pouch that is held to where the stem of the bike meets the head set.

2. Form Language

Keeping the vibrator on the relatively stable upper arm will help to keep the connectivity in tact while making the buzzing of the vibration more salient. This falls in line with Gemperle’s most unobtrusive arrears for wearable objects: upper arm.

3. Human Movement

While riding, the upper body remains relatively stable and this is why the vibrator is positioned there, so the discreet vibrations aren’t missed by the user.

4. Proxemics

The longer wire from the vibrator to the circuit board runs from under the sleeve, down the torso and connects to the tech pouch (the same way your earphones run under your shirt to connect to your iPod). The button is fixed on the handlebar and runs along a shorter wire to the tech pouch. This addresses the human perception of size as the tech remains within the aura (user’s intimate space) of the human body.

7. Containment

By giving plenty of slack (but not too much to get in the way of the cyclist’s legs) for the longer wire that connects the vibrator to the tech pouch we can allow for freedom of the tilting of the torso (swinging from side to side)

8. Weight

The heaviest part of the Nugeables setup in the circuit board, which is held by the bike. The only wearable component is the vibrator and its long wire. Very minimal weight.

9. Accessibility

Quite inexpensive tech setup; its tactile accessibility is low-barrier with a simple button press.

10. Interaction

All pieces (tech pouch, button and vibrator) are modular, and connect up when starting your ride.

11. Thermal

This could be an issue with extended rides, where respiration and heat are in excess. Further testing needed in such conditions.

12. Aesthetics

The use of my Nike sport accessories such as stretch arm warmers, and a runner’s pouch clip were used to follow in the sporty aesthetics of the concept. The arm warmer is breathable, and a thicker arm warmer can be used overtop the Nike warmer for colder conditions.

13. Long-term Use

This would need to be tested to gauge Sigama’s durability. I suspects a bit of wear and tear on the wires as well as tech pouch, which was already experienced during testing. A possible solution could be a 3D-printed inner casting for the tech pouch as well as a waterproof rubber cover for the button, as well as a breathable pouch for the vibrator sensor.

Shortcomings & Challenges

The arm warmer, and tech pouch are of course pre-existing accessories and help to communicate my proof of concept. What I would need to do is create my own accessories that address the potential thermal risks of the vibrator sensor on the arm as well as the weather proofing the tech pouch, while still keeping both components modular. Ideally, what I envision for this concept is two vibrator sensors instead of one which would be placed on each arm to indicate the respective left or right turns (i.e.: an upcoming left turn would be associated with a vibration on the left arm).

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