Testing with the group, tutors and Rania and Ricci from IBM was very successful and insightful. Across the board, all users found the wearable to bring an instant feeling of calmness.

Here are some of the take-aways that will be included for the Ars Electronica prototype:

  1. Symbiotic:
    • One user asked me, “Why haven’t you thought to use a more symbiotic approach where the sounds are based on something like your heart rate pattern or your own breathing?”
      • The purpose of this garment is to help you find a sense of calm whilst in the midst of anxious situations, stress or possibly even a panic attack. If the breathing was based on your own bodies breathing or heart rate during this state of heightened stress the result in sound would not be calming. By providing the calming breathing sounds, you can easily without even thinking follow this breathing and in turn calm down.
    • One user asked me, “How does the garment know my breathing pattern to follow it in sound?”
      • Good question, it does not. The wearable actually sets the breathing patterns and even without trying your body will ultimately fall in tempo naturally. Psychologically you follow rhythms set for you, think about tempos for running being tied closely to what you listen to on your headphones.
  2. ‘Uninteruptable’
    • 3 users commented on how they love that the wearable is ‘uninteruptable’ unlike a meditation app on your phone.
      • apps on phones for meditation still allow you to hear a text come through, or an email which would be distracting
      • you end up spending most of your brainpower whilst in an app on telling yourself not to check your phone, which defeats the purpose of trying to destress by meditation or breathing
  3. Wearable as leader:
    • Rania from IBM commented on how helpful it is for her that the wearable tells you exactly how to breathe without any thought or input from her at all
      • this alleviates the stress of trying to pick how to calm down
      • when in a state of stress/panic/anxiety having to make a choice is too difficult and this very nicely removes that extra step
  4. Fabric and style:
    • positive feedback on the weight of the fabric
      • the light fabric helps to elevate
      • does not distract from the purpose of the wearable
    • positive feedback on the style
      • having it be a fashionable garment was well received because the users (specifically females) felt they could wear this anywhere and not feel “weird” for meditating. No one would know they were wearing a meditation wearable
      • as for the male users, they agreed with the females on the benefits of having a fashionable piece of clothing, but would like one that is designed more geared towards them
      • one user suggested maybe a more unisex look
        • could push this one step further to have many different looks to accommodate a wider variety
    • have the touch points be more incorporated with the garment
      • maybe as shirt buttons
      • weaved into the fabric
  5. Bluetooth capability
    • ultimately having it be bluetooth so that headphones do not have to be plugged into the wearable is the ideal scenario
  6. Sound feedback
    • I had 2 sounds programmed into the piece, breathing and gongs
      • unanimously users preferred the breathing
    • have several different breathing exercises that help alleviate varying levels of stress
      • make this an easy user experience to keep the element of not having to make choices when in the midst of anxiety/stress/panic attack
        • ie: have the buttons descending from the top to the bottom of the garment with colours associated with stress level — top button being high stress and red, down to the bottom button being lower stress and green

IBM Critique and Testing 5

IBM Critique and Testing 3IBM Critique and Testing 1IBM Critique and Testing 2