With technology becoming an even more prominent part of our daily lives, our reliance on mechanical products has transformed us into mechanical beings. While it may not be possible to completely break free, what we are able to do is tune our senses through the help of technology. TEMPUS is a wearable system that seeks to re-habituate users with time through vibrations.
- Project was in partnership with Intel-
User Experience, User Research, Wireframing, Arduino, Garment Construction
For those living in metropolitan cities, it is common to have our day separated into blocks. In any given moment, we are running from one meeting to another or have a deadline closing in. Living at a frantic pace, we often lose track within the breadth of work we have to complete and do more harm to our body than we imagined.
Given the brief to explore the implementation of of Intel's new Curie Chip, my team chose to explore imbedded wearable technology and its implementation in garments, Through our research, we researched different methods to trigger one's senses. As opposed to relying on visuals, we were fascinated with the idea of using vibrations as a method of reminding users the time, to stop, to breath, and to reflect.
Tempus is a future concept where we envisioned humans being rehabituated with the experience of telling time and being "in the moment". We first began our research looking at the current market and researched products that help revitalize the body. From there, sketches were drawn as to what our potential device could look like.
To understand our audience better and the types of problems they face, we conducted a series of user interviews targeting those within the range of 18-27 years old. A series of questions were prepped before hand and 7 students were interviewed.
While our user interviewed focused on primarily students, we quickly realized that our findings were applicable to a range of users. Whether a stay-at-home mom/dad, office worker, or professor, Tempus is a functional product for someone who lives a hectic lifestyle, experiences body pains due to stress, and loses track of time. From these results, we decided to create a product that serves both males and females focusing on back pains.
The prototypes were exhibited at the 2016 Parsons! Impact Festival. While we did not have enough time to attach the device to the garment, Tempus' concept resonated with visitors and also the team from Intel.
At the end of each "tail", a vibrating motor is attached which in turn massages a pressure point on the back when activated. With an initial design for the device created, we turned to creating a set of unisex garments where users can easily attach and remove Tempus. Keeping in mind that the garments need to maximize movement and offer comfort, the designs followed Rikard Lindqvist's Kinetic Garment Construction. Over 15 designs were created in two weeks and two were chosen for production.
Created in parallel with the garment, a prototype of a mobile app was designed to control Tempus and to allow users to view their tracked biodata. We conducted a series of competitive analysis to determine what functionality and design direction the app should take. For this part, we looked at Fitbit and Samsung's Health focusing on their design and function.
Due to time restrictions, we did not have enough time to create a fully functional app. Taking our deadline into consideration, we chose to focus on the skeleton of the app and how information is presented. Through our research, we noticed that biodata is generally represented in numbers with an accompanying visual. All of this data however is not consolidated in one place that provides users a reflection of their current body state. With the app, we wanted to provide fun visual representations of the biodata with one main animation that visualizes the body condition.
The Home Screen consist of a visual representation of the combined biodata. When Tempus is triggered, a node will appear in the circle that indicates the vitals at that moment. Through Curie's AI abilities, Tempus learns the user's habits and triggers based on time and changes in body functions. The number of times it triggers is meant to slowly decrease overtime meaning less reliance on Tempus to tell time and to relax.
WHAT I LEARNED
The four months working with both Intel and a cross-disciplinary team taught me a lot in both the production of wearable garments and working with other disciplines. As designers, we hold the power in creating the interaction with technology and their effects on the body. Working on this project shed light on what later became my first steps in understanding what ethical design is. Creating a wearable system is much more than a few wireframes and mockups. Aiming for a holistic design involves designing the ecosystem of which the product will be part of.
Working with such a diverse team of designers helped me gain more insight on not just the language that should be used. Working with both Fashion and Industrial design students meant our approach to design was different. While my thought process was more closely aligned with ID students, it was crucial to establish a design process that everyone agreed on and can follow from the beginning.
From its conception to the final presentation, this opportunity to create Tempus was an interesting design challenge to me because I was designing for a product meant to change habits. At one point, I had to create the alphabet for vibrations and how something so one dimensional can serve as something similar to brail. This project gave me a fresh perspective on Experience design. With our culture heavily based around visuals, it was looking at my surroundings with a different perspective and uncovering the possibilities that have yet been explored.