Wearable Notifications


Traditionally, all interactions and events associated with the phone is constrained within the device itself. More recently there are external outputs like Bluetooth headsets and speakers that can be controlled with things like AirPlay. But what about notifications? We are constantly checking them, turning on the screen multiple times in an hour to check if someone responded to our text messages. Many people feel disconnected when they are not near their phones. Sometimes the phone is in the depths of our bags, in another room or just some place out of reach, which makes it difficult to be CONSTANTLY CONNECTED!

Stop checking. Put your phone down. I want to create a body accessory that will extend phone notifications beyond the smartphone itself. This body accessory will provide both visual (RGB LED) and haptic (vibrator) feedback to the wearer. I chose not to use audible feedback because the wearer may be in a sensitive situation (meetings etc.) where checking their phones is impolite. Since it is close to the body, the haptic feedback will suffice.

The accessory will likely take on a form similar to body-chain jewellery. If well executed, I think wearable technology in this from will look subtle and decorative on top of clothes, but also lightweight and discreet underneath clothes. This will depend on the wearer’s preference.


The main goal for my final project is to connect my Android phone to Arduino. In doing so, I hope to explore the different interaction possibilities. To begin, I found a really helpful resource to connect Arduino and Android together by using the Amarino toolkit and following their tutorials.

Then, I will be using IFTTT (If This Then That) to simulate/prototype certain interactions on the Android phone (input), and then output the notifications on to the accessory. This may include:

  • Google Calendar alarms
  • Text notifications
  • Missed calls
  • Social media notifications (Facebook, Twitter)


Week 1:  Learn all about the Amarino toolkit, acquire parts, design and finalize the form of the wearable
Week 2: Build, test, get frustrated, build, test, get frustrated, build, test, happy dance when successful
Week 3: Electronic prototype tested and finalized, fabricate and finish wearable, prepare and finish presentation

Other project ambitions probably not achievable within the timeframe:

  • Have the accessory respond to the sensors in the phone (accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer) 
  • Using sensors on the body to send messages to the phone (Arduino to Android)
  • Include audible feedback as well, and have the accessory respond according to the profile settings on the phone (Silent, Vibrate only, Meeting mode etc.)

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