Designing Wearable Technologies Through a First-Person Approach

Collecting first-person data can provide nuanced understanding of the lived experience of emotional life, to better inform the design of wearable technologies. In this project, we look at designing wearable technology for health and wellbeing. In this project, we present our workbook titled The Inside-Out Probe Workbook which has been used in two different contexts: (1) Design interactive soundscapes modulated by EEG brainwave sensors for mindfulness meditation; and (2) Design of a scarf for emotional regulation.

Breathing Scarf by Yidan Cao

Many technologies that support mindfulness meditation employ feedback to users to notify them about their mindfulness state and help them improve their practice. In this context we explore interactive soundscapes modulated by electroencephalogram (EEG) data to support attentional focus and meta-awareness during meditation. Specifically, we rely on first-person perspectives of practitioners; the momentary, lived experience during the practice. Through a series of labs, workshops and use of the Inside-Out Probe Workbook, we developed two interactive soundscapes designed and tested in a sitting and walking meditation context.

The cognitive complexities of emotions and individualized coping strategies make it a difficult space for design. The methodology is unique for the intertwining of emotional activities and mindfulness exercises, as a strategy for controlling emotional repercussions. Self-observation and documentation included journaling and sketching using the Inside-Out Probe workbook, followed by material prototyping and testing in-the-wild. The Breathing Scarf prototype embodies key considerations including designing for personal comfort, ownership, and individual-over-social meaning-making. Of equal importance in the design research process are the well-being of the designer/researcher, the ability to self-regulate emotions, and the ethics of care and emotion work.

  • Dr Karen Cochrane
  • Dr Lian Loke
  • Dr Naseem Ahmadpour
  • Matt Leete
  • Yidan Cao
  • Dr Audrey Girouard