The project explores how fidgeting can be used as a way to communicate with loved ones at a distance. Texting or speaking over the phone only allows for a limited understanding of each other’s emotional state, whereas wearable interactive objects that register the fidgeting behaviour of the person wearing it could offer a new dimension to expressing one’s mood to a partner or friend.
To explore this space, we designed a pair of wearable smartwatches that captured specific fidgeting behaviours and communicated that as colours to the partner’s device.
Iterated throughout the entire design cycle, utilised different design methods, and finished the final prototype from the first setup with teammates. Focused and responsible for mainly interaction design and technology aspects.
Arduino, Conductive fabric with Velostat, 3D printer, Laser cutter
Jason Huang, Annetta Sillard & Leonardo Rignanese
With the theme "fidgeting" being set by the instructor, we noticed a common interest in working with devices that would help people stay connected in long-distance relationships during a brainstorming session. Then, we came up with three different concepts and used the Six Thinking Hats method to help us evaluate and decide. After getting some more detailed thoughts, we decided that the most interesting way of interaction and fidgeting for our core concept is:
Use buttons and pressure that translates emotions into visual signals.
Subsequently, we narrowed down the usage scenario and target users, then defined our idea to be:
A wearable used within 1 to 1 romantic relationships focusing on shared signals useful to acknowledge each other.
We then started with some Idea Sketching and also set a vision while prototyping.
To explore mapping emotions with colours, we based the communication on previous work, then used Arduino with LED and a button for the first interaction:
Whenever the button was pressed expeditiously (multiple times that exceeds the threshold within a set timeframe), the light changes from green to blue to indicate a more displeasure feeling.
The second fidget element is the wristband with a pressure sensor. We used two pieces of conductive textiles and a piece of Velostat between them. The interaction is:
Quantify the pressure on the band that translates to arousal, adding more red to the colours green and blue when it is being pressed harder.
To make the prototype ready for demo, we iterated through our setup again but did not have the time to connect two devices wirelessly and with batteries within. However, the solution of inserting the LED from one device to the other simulated two devices connected with each other well for the purpose. Therefore, accepting and prioritising the best outcome that could be achieved with limited resources, which is always the case, seems as important as knowing what could be done better, especially when working with hardware where a change could lead to a total rebuild.