Project 1: Nudgeables

The assigned article on aspects of wearability influenced me to begin considering objects that consistently live within our body space. These objects, such as keys on a keychain, already occupy a position of comfort and familiarity with the user. My intention was to integrate my nudgeables kit with a set of keys on a chain, in order to achieve a degree of inherent comfort in the design.

I chose to design and create a leather pouch that hangs alongside keys on a keychain. The pouch is an appropriate object because the space within the bag is perfect for housing the hardware in a self contained object. The pouch contains three interior pockets: one for the circuit board and battery, one for the vibrating motor and one for the button.

The user triggers the switch by reaching down and pressing the button which is encased on the inside edge of the pouch. There is currently no indication of the button’s location on the pouch, but I could potentially have added a texture of material difference in order to better communicate that interaction. Because the pouch hangs with the keys, it fits in well with the natural action of constantly checking to ensure that you still have your keys. It also hangs at the side of the user at waist height, which conforms to the guidelines to placing wearable objects on the body described in design for wearability. I tried to create an object with a certain degree of beauty that existed on it’s own as a fashionable accessory, and did not stick out as a strange or unnatural object.

  1. Placement: The pouch is placed at the outside of the hip, positioning it in an unobtrusive part of the body.
  2. Form Language: The form of the pouch is designed to elegantly contain the nudgeables hardware.
  3. Human Movement: Noticing that the action of checking for one’s keys is a common motion, I designed the pouch to coincide with that movement.
  4. Proxemics: I paired the pouch with keys, which are an object which already exists within the typical human perception of the body space.
  5. Sizing: Because the pouch is affixed to the body at one point, the design accounts for variances in human diversity. However a draw back to this is that the vibration is more difficult to notice than if it were directly affixed to the skin.
  6. Attachment: In addition to accounting for human diversity, the one point attachment reduces any restrictions on the body.

The process of crafting the leatherwork took a lot of trial and error to practice sewing techniques and get the sizing correct. My final prototype ended up being my third attempt. I also started creating some beadworks to ornament the surface of the pouch and to communicate the location of the hidden button, but after a lot of time making the beaded piece I had difficulty elegantly attaching it and cohesively integrating it with the pouch.

Yuxi Wang_Project1wearability design_ Magic Collar

Here I have created a fashionable accessory — magic collar. It allows people nudge friends from distance by slightly rotating the big button on the collar. The idea starts from the consideration of ‘the placement of the device’. Since chest is one of the most stable spots of the body, I decided to create something worn around the neck and place the device on the chest. Also, I aimed for designing something that fashionable people can wear it anywhere, anytime. And I noticed that ‘separate collar’ has become a fashionable accessory in recent years. Therefore, a special made collar would be interesting for this project.

Description of interaction scenario
People sometimes touch and play with their tie and shirt buttons unconsciously. Therefore, slightly rotate the button on the collar will not grab any attention. I use it as a way to cover-up the ‘nudge’ movement. Moreover, the cut out here indicates how the ‘interaction’ works. Basically, when you rotate the button to trigger the ‘nudge’, the button fits neatly into the cut out shape.

Here I have created a vine video for demonstration, but I had problem with embedding it here. I apologize for the inconvenience  Please check the link: https://vine.co/v/hnFdmOz7lta/embed

Inventiveness with nudger and notifier
The nudger was made from conductive fabric. There are two separate pieces of conductive fabric connected to the circuit. And there are four pieces of triangle shaped conductive fabric sticked onto the four corners of the wood button. When users rotate the wood button to a 45 degree angle, the conductive fabric on the button will close the circuit and trigger the notifier.

Use of materials
I choose to use wool felt and wood to build the collar. First of all, these two types of materials matches each other in an aesthetic perspective. The wool felt is stiff enough to hold the structure, thus it is suitable for making a collar. The wood button was made by myself, which is big enough to facilitate the nudge movement. In addition, the wood made button is actually not the button which buckle up the collar. And instead of using an actual button I embedded the magnets to make it much more easier for users.

Wearability design:
1. The placement of the wearable device
The chest is one of the areas that is relatively stable. Worn around the neck and place the device on the chest is a good placement.

2. Aesthetic design
The exaggerated wood button is the highlight of the aesthetic design. Also, the deconstructivism wool felt collar matches the look of the button.

3. Weight, find the center of the gravity
The weight of the collar is light and it will not affect the body movement.The weight is balanced and it will not tilt.

4. Attachment, consideration of sizing and fit
In order to keep the big button on the right spot, the size cannot be adjusted. However, the neck measurements only have slightly difference across adults. The collar fits most of the people in regular size.

5. Proxemics: human perception of space
The collar was designed neither too tight nor too loose. I figured out an appropriate scale of space between collar and body. I have created extra space to place the device, so it will not cause any uncomfortableness in terms of proxemics.

6. Accessibility
It is easy to access to the device, all you need to do is to take it out from the pocket. However, you only need to take it out when you clean the collar.

7. Long-term Use
All the materials I used in this project can be long-term used. The wool felt stays clean for long time and people can get it cleaned by easily taking out the electronic device.

 

 

Nerd Alert!

This project came out of a conversation with another classmate who had the dubious honour of listening to me rant on about something she, quite frankly, couldn’t care less about. What resulted was an idea about finding some way to have people tell me when I *might* be too excited about something and maybe need to be less nerdy about stuff.

I figured the prototypical symbol of nerdism is the bow-tie, so I began designing my prototype to lean in that direction. My plan was to build something that wasn’t too overt but would get the message across, so I settled on LEDs which would light up when a button (presumably held by the listener) would be pressed. So I began with a test of the circuit to make sure the everything would line up properly with 4 LEDs, then moved to six for the next iteration.

Once I was sure that I had a functioning circuit, I cut a piece of cardboard which would hold the shape of the bow-tie as well as hide the battery and Nudgeable board. Originally, I had thought about hiding the heavier components behind the wearer’s neck on a strap, but figured that it would become unnecessarily awkward to place and make sure everything was working. Instead, I ended up sizing the bows to be just a wee bit larger than the size of the board (my largest component) and thankfully everything is light enough to be held in place by a bow-tie clip.

The wiring of the bow-tie prototype 

The sewing of the envelope for the bow-tie itself turned out to be the toughest part of the entire process – I haven’t sewn since the 8th grade and it shows! As a result, it’s a little rough around the edges and rather than using eyelet clips as I’d originally intended, I settled on velcro since, in all honesty, I’m just not that good at sewing precision things.

I ran a quick test of the whole system to make sure everything was working as expected and then set onto building the activator button. Using a box I found in the lab, I cut a hole for the button and set the nudger inside that.

The button and housing

After that, it was just a case of trying on the bow-tie and making sure it fit. Classy!

 

NotiGloves

To start my design research as the first stage of the process, I closely observed the occasions where there are difficulties in communication in order to solve a problem with my design. For example, I looked into noisy locations, sports (between players, even referees), and also human and their companions (their pets) in terms of call for action.

 

NotiGloves is two pair of ski gloves, which allows you to make voiceless communication with your ski mates through signals. Skiers usually ski in two or more, and it is important for them to keep each other close together in order to prevent missing each other in urgent cases.  So with NotiGloves you can notify your mates of any trouble or communicate with them in sign language via vibration.

 

How it works

You only need to press your left middle finger on your left thumb.

 

Following the design guidelines of wearable technologies, NotiGloves pays full attention to all criteria:

 

  1. Placement:

Through my iterative process, I searched for the most accessible and functional place to position the nudger and notifier. Nudger is placed under left middle finger. It is because 87% of people are right handed and locating it on the left hand would prevent unintended touches. Middle finger is strong enough to make the touch. But notifier is placed on the back of hand where there is less probability of damage to both hand and the electronic components. While skiing, there is a big risk of fall and collapse on your palm, that’s why is on the back.

 

There are some graphics on the gloves, which shows users where the electronics are located. This constructs a mental model of the technology for better performance of the product.

 

  1. Form language:

The gloves follow natural form of the hand; it’s just a cover up to your wrist.

 

  1. Human movement:

Although hands are the most dynamic parts of our body, NotiGloves is designed in a way that never conflicts and restricts the movement of fingers especially throughout the sport.

 

  1. Poxemics:

Hands are the most controlled part of the body, because we barely see them perform. NotiGloves does go beyond standard limitation (0-5 inches), and adds little (0.5 inch) extra volume to back of your hand.

 

  1. Size variations:

NotiGloves comes in different sizes for different groups of people.

 

  1. Attachment:

Nudger tightens to your wrist.

 

  1. Other:
  • Material: NotiGloves is made of waterproofed material in order to prevent any damage to the electronics inside of it.
  • Weight: NotiGloves is heavier by 200 gr more than regular gloves.
  • Interaction: easy interaction and use, only by pressing your left middle finger on your thumb.
  • Aesthetics: NotiGloves comes out with variety of vibrant colors for both men and female users, the use of vibrant colors also prevent the gloves from lost in the snow.
  • Long term use: NotiGloves has enough distance from primary vulnerable organs, and it has no effect in long-term use. There are only 2 branches of nerves exist on back of hand which NotiGloves make no conflict with. It is also protected by flexible protective material in order to prevent damages to the body from the electronics.

 

Design Choices:

 

Although it is explained earlier in this paper, I’ll go quickly over my design choices. The use of gloves was an important one; it’s chosen to enhance accessibility especially in urgent situation that immediate action is required. Use of gloves also does not confuse users while skiing to take an extra action to reach other part of the body; the communication takes place with little movement to the body.

 

Vibrant colors and graphics on the surface depict a mental model for the user from the functionality and placement of the electronics. This will help them to better understand the product which results better performance.

 

For design decisions over nomination of left hand and middle figure please refer to the beginning of this paper.

A cooperative walking game using Nudgeables

I’ve used the Nudgeables to create an eyes free game, worn as an armband, to encourage office workers and couch potatoes to take a break from sitting and do a little walking. It’s a two player game played in turns. It can be played anywhere because it’s a silent game so no one around you knows you’re playing. It uses simple and intuitive interactions to operate, no interaction is necessary to operate beyond walking around.

 

When it is your turn you are required to walk a number of steps to pass the turn to the other player. This then prompts the other player to walk in a call and respond fashion through a long vibration notification in the armband. To encourage fast completion of the turns (and walking exercise) the armband softly vibrates once every 2 secs. This annoyance (and guilt of still being it) quickly builds up; you’ll want to end your turn fast to get a break!

 

The input of the system is a pedometer created with a 3-axis accelerometer. A Lilypad Arduino acts as the brain of the system. It counts the steps taken and tells the Nudgeable when to activate. It also reads the notification signal from the Nudgeable to determine when the player’s turn has begun.

My original thought was to place it on the ankle but I repositioned it after reading the design for wearability text. This area is too mobile and flexible. Instead, I located it on the upper arm to minimize perception of size as well as impact from movement. Furthermore, I used stretchy fabric for construction of the housing to account for movement. This also allowed the form to taper and shape to the body and, with the inclusion of an adjustable strap, fit many body sizes and types.

 

In the largest part of the housing I used a highly breathable fabric to limit heat buildup and to keep the wearer comfortable. I attempted to make the housing as durable as possible by using strong, stretchy fabrics in every area but had to include felt fabric as backing in this iteration. In the future I would ideally use leather.

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).

The Escape Belt

The Escape Belt is a wearable device that allows you to create opportunities for leaving undesirable situations.

Worn around your waist and hidden under your clothes, pressing the Escape Belt’s button triggers a sound to play from the receiver terminal, which you can place anywhere you like. Is there a long-winded salesperson at your door? Activate the Escape Belt and you’ll hear a blood-curdling scream coming from your living room, giving you an excuse to quickly close the door in their face. Do you have boring dinner guests? Press the button and suddenly the smoke alarm is going off in the kitchen; you’d better go take care of it! The Escape Belt is the ultimate escape plan.

Continue reading The Escape Belt

Something Naughty Something Nice (SNSN) by Jeremy Littler

Something Naughty Something Nice (SNSN) by Jeremy Littler
Prepared for: Kate Hartman:
Course: Body-Centric Technologies, Fall 2013

http://youtu.be/_X-mAuy0smU

 

Concept:

Something Nice:
The concept behind Something Naughty Something Nice was to design a shared “romantic experience” between two individuals. The “Something Nice” element of the project is the ability to give their “significant” other a ring (the activator) that enables that person to demonstrate their love for the other person by wirelessly lighting their partners “heart lamp”. As rings are a token of devotion, they are a perfect as key elements of the interaction.

The lamp is housed in a necklace that each partner wears. The heart lighting process can occur bi-directionally (or not!) and wirelessly at the range of the XBee that located on the Nudgeable board (Kate Hartman).

As the primary object is a necklace it is adapted to a variety of body shapes and size. The actuator ring is currently a single size. Future iterations could include a flexible ring band.

Something Naughty:
When the lights go down simply showing your devotion by lighting the partners heart may not suffice. At this point, and probably in the privacy of your own home (!) the partners may elect to enable the “Something Naughty” mode. Each partner can connect a vibration element to the heart and, ahem, use this to sooth and relax etc. etc. etc. etc……

 

How it works:

Jack and Jill each put on the necklace and a ring.

Jack touches his ring (any of the two rings will do) to his necklace.

Jill’s necklace lights up (if Jill touches her necklace Jacks will light up).

If Jills piezo buzzer is connected, then that buzzes as well. The same goes for Jack.

The neightbors start complaining so they get a condo and live happily ever after.

 

B) Placement:
SNSN is a necklace placed around the user’s collar. The rationale for selecting this location is that it is highly likely partners may want to publicly demonstrate their devotion. If that is not the case, then the necklace can be placed underneath an article of clothing. A potential alternate location on the belt was considered but rejected in favor of the necklace. Furthermore, as the electronic elements and housing were fairly bulky (in this version anyway), a necklace was determined to be provide the distribution of the object.

Form:
As objects were 3D printed iterations of SNSN could be molded to better fit the wearer’s boy contour. In the prototype the necklace was designed to have rounded edges. The “activator” ring naturally fits the contour of the finger. The vibration element can be placed freely and removed if unwanted.

Human Movement:
The necklace was designed to enable the wearer to move freely. Movement tests did not indicate a problem with the device when worn in typical day-to-day activities. The biggest limitation is the size (more) and weight (less so) of the object.

 

Proxemics:
The object (including the ring and vibration element) is situated close the body. Ideally, SNSN would be scaled down considerably which would make the object feel more intimate. The size of the unit is a challenge that could be met in later iterations.

Size Variation:
The object will fit all individuals. The actuator rings would need to be custom size or provided with an adjustable ring band.

 

Attachment:

As SNSN is a prototype there are a significant number of aspects that need improvement. That said, the current design is fairly light, well balanced, cool running, does not require significant tactile skills to operate and is involving at a variety of sensory levels. That said, a significant re-design is required to make the object more robust and easier to use. A more advanced 3D printing platform was tested during the development and the object created on this device was much stronger but considerably heavier. In general, the device size and weight would need to be reduced considerably. In addition, a more robust method of attaching the vibration unit is required.

The vibration element needs to be in a more protected and located in a functional housing. It is currently necessary to remove the primary housing cover to turn the device on. A future iteration might use the actuator ring to turn the device on or possibly and easily accessible switch. The internal components (e.g., the batter) are difficult to access and the components are quite delicate. By reducing the component size (using a smaller Lithium battery and mainboard) it should be possible to reduce the size markedly. Variations could be designed to better fit stylistic trends and norms. Some balance needs to be struck between weight, robustness and uniformity.

The long term effect of the device is at present unknown. One might speculate that extensive use of SNSN might lead to an excessive interest in French wines and soft music! There might be a potential for electrocution, though that could also be a desired side-effect. It’s uncharted territory AFAIK!

———————————————————

 

Design Notes:

Early experiments, Failures and Successes:


Searching for the right “actuator” for SNSN was a major challenge. The initial idea was to use a IR transmitter/detector system. This was abandoned as it ran counter to the wireless capabilities of the XBee unit and was deemed too be complex and of questionable accuracy. I also tested tilt switches, photo-resistors and mechanical micro switches. None of these devices provided the immediacy of experience that I was looking for.
One of the limitation of the current lamp/vibration unit is that it is not very dynamic (on or off only). In the process of tackling this issue I explored the Tiny45 controller.

This low power IC could have provided a more engaging modes (I leave this up to the imagination!), either by controlling RGB LEDS’s or by changing the rate of the light/vibration unit (to match a typical heartbeat for example). Using a Tiny (Sparkfun) programmer I was able to breadboard a lighting controller of sorts (see below).

Time permitting I could, probably would, have added a  Tiny45 IC to the project.  Getting the Tiny45 to work with Arduino was a major challenge (great effort was expended!), but the testing was very worthwhile. Unfortunately, there simply wasn’t enough time to implement additional circuitry and to generate the programming required.  In hindsight the simplicity of the current device is actually quite refreshing.

Tiny45 and Programmer!

 

Magnets and 3D Printing:

While exploring various actuators I came across magnetic reed (MR) switches. These immediately suggest the use of a magnetic element to actuate the SNSN. Magnets are a fascinating energy source and are well worth exploring for projects that would otherwise require mechanical or electronic switching.

One of the more interesting characteristics of magnetic reed switches is that they can be activated by placing a magnetic element near to them; they do not have to be in direct contact with the magnet. The MR switches were tested and were found to be extremely accurate. Furthermore, by moving the ring in and out of the detection area (approximately 1 inch with a quarter sized magnets) a user can affect the receiver unit in a precise fashion (flash, pulse etc.). Interesting……………………………………………
From the outset I had considered using a fabric for the SNSN housing. However, I felt that this would be an ideal opportunity to explore 3D printing. The process of designing the models was reasonably painless with the Autodesk 123D tools (see below).

 

Printing the model turned in to an exercise in frustration. The Makerbot Replicator 2 reluctantly printed the objects over a VERY long weekend. Patience required! The results were ok, but the objects are not very robust (except for the rings). Also, the PLA material did not seem to like being painted (it warped). In the future I would print at a higher density setting. I would also ensure the cavity of the element was larger (it was too small).

3D Printing

 

Code:

Outside of the Nudgeable, none, nada. If a Tiny45 was used then the possibilities are wide open. You could program the Tiny45 is so inclined.

Parts List:
2 X Nudgeables Kit
2 X Magentic Reed Switches
2 X Red LED (Large)
2 X LED Holders (Make Sure they Match the Large LEDS)
2 X 1/8” Connectors
3D Printer (Optional)
2 X Medium Sized Circular Magnets
Lots of wire, solder and patience
Red Paint (PLA material did not like my spray paint!)
2 X Tiny45’s if you want to push the envelope (please don’t send me a description of that).
Working Version

 

 

 

 

 

Final Version

 

Conclusion

The expectation is that some effort is required to activate the partner’s device. I’m intrigued with both the concept of jewelry objects that interact with each other and the need for active participation by the wearer. I was also deliberately trying to get away from a single device concept for this project. I believe the results, both the failures and the successes, opened up many potential avenues for future exploration.

 

Love ,

Jeremy

XOXOXOXO