Giz-emo Wearable Technology

Giz-emo Wearable Technology

This is an overview of the three projects done as part of the Critical Wearables course at NYU. Each project was done in a span of 1-2 weeks and I worked on it completely on my own.

Project 1: Design a wearable for a non-human entity

To address this challenge, I came up with the concept of Giz-emo which is a wearable designed to perceive, analyze and depict the emotions of the smartphone.

Imagine your smartphone was a living entity…

I came up with a working prototype of a device which could be worn as a back cover by the smartphone. It had 3 different color LED lights which would map the emotions of the device by sensing different factors like temperature, pressure, capacity and so on. This device would help reduce the addiction to technology and maintain the device health thus reducing e-waste. This project proved to be very effective to help me understand how people associate with both emotions and technology.

Design Process

The design process involved a 3-step process which started with research, continued onto ideation and prototyping and resulted in the final demonstration of the Giz-emo device.

Step #1: Research and Brainstorming

The research phase involved diving deep into understanding about designing a wearable for a non-human entity and comprehending about object centered wearables. A wearable is generally perceived to be useful for a human being but in fact it can be useful to plants, animals, buildings, robots, objects and more. The research also included looking into technology addiction and how it can be controlled. Other aspects of research included understanding about emotion mapping and color psychology to correctly be able to map emotions to colors in this device. It was also important to understand the life cycle of objects, in this case the wear and tear of the smart phone and its reactions to the environment.

Step #2: Ideation

The ideation phase involved brainstorming about different ways to create the wearable for the smart phone. Some possible ideas were to embed the device into the smart phone in the form of a sticker, strip, patch or belt. Some other concepts were to incorporate it into a case, back cover, magnet or switch. While all of the ideas were interesting, it was decided to create a customized back cover with the device (Giz-emo) for the smart phone. Circuit diagrams were created to understand what would be the best way to attach the device on to the smart phone. The circuit is the crucial part of the device (Giz-emo) and was designed in a simple yet effective manner.

Step #3: Prototyping

The prototyping phase involved creating a set of prototypes to test and understand the working and functionality of the Giz-emo device. The first prototype was created with copper tape, battery and a single LED light. The circuit components were tested to ensure that the single LED light could be controlled with the switches. This was essential in understanding the working of the circuit. However, the copper tape could easily result in short circuit if overlapped and not conducive to longer use as the connections were lose and not properly secured.

Thus the second prototype was created with conductive fabric tape, battery and 3 LED lights. The conductive fabric tape was a better material to use onto the back cover for the smart phone and it was much easier to establish the connections with it. This prototype was tested in the form of a smart phone back cover with 3 different color LED lights. Each light represented a different factor. When the red LED lit up, it signified that the smart phone was subjected to extreme external pressure. The blue LED showed that the smart phone has been in use for long duration and needs a break. The green LED indicated the threshold level of the smart phone for measuring heat and temperature.

Step #4: Final Demonstration

Giz-emo has a number of applications as the concept can be extended to measure other factors like proximity, density, content volume etc. It can also be integrated with the smart phone inbuilt features to provide resolutions to address emotion states of the smart phone and in order to enable easy mapping to each emotion with color memory. The concept can also be extended to other devices like laptop, tablet, VR headset etc. The core of this concept is ‘visual communication’ which can also be useful for infants, plants and animals to communicate their current state and inform the care taker to address to their required needs. As a mockup, I have created the following display which shows how Giz-emo can take form in future onto the smart phone and explains how each color can be mapped to different factors affecting the smart phone.

Project 2: Expanded Tech Design Challenge

Step #1: For this project, I chose the piece of technology as the LED Matrix as I wanted to focused on the visual communication medium. I learnt how a LED matrix worked and tried to recreate my own matrix from scratch. I started by understanding the components of the LED Matrix and tried working with different LEDs to comprehend how they function.

Step #2: I decided to incorporate the LED matrix as an embedded device in the uniform of workers. So I created my own 4 by 3 LED matrix on the top right side of a T-shirt as shown below and made the connections of all the LEDs through the Arduino board and wires.

Step #3: I tried to map different patterns in the matrix to specific emotion states. I envisioned this to be a wearable device which would be embedded in the uniform of workers and help map different states like high energy, less movement and exhaustion level to different patterns in order to communicate their feelings and state of mind in a more effective way to other people.

In the final demonstration, I created a mock-up of how this device can be worn by a model and showed the different patterns in the LED matrix.

Project 3: Wearable for the future

When I look into the future of humanity, I see increased interactions of with artificial intelligence and reduced communications with other humans. This led me to design a wearable which is designed to perceive and control emotions so we are more aware of our emotions and guided well with our own personal companion and care assistant robot.

I made a mapping of 6 colors with 6 emotions based on certain color psychology principles to answer how these emotions affect us everyday. It is important to not let negative emotions cause extended trauma to us so this mechanism would help us be more aware and shift our attitudes.

Design Process

The design process involved a 3-step process which started with research, continued onto ideation and prototyping and resulted in the final demonstration of the Giz-emo device.

Step #1: Research and Brainstorming

During this phase, I researched in detail about color emotions and current wearables in the market which focused on sensing emotions of the user. I also tried to understand the working of different single color LEDs and RGB LEDs by trying out different patterns and placements.

Step #2: Ideation and Prototyping

During this phase, I created both the components of the wearable – the headband and the robot.

After multiple rounds of ideation, I chose to go ahead with a headband to depict the exact mapping of emotions from the mind. I designed the headband by embedding an LED strip onto it and controlled the different colors for the prototype.

I also designed the robot from scratch and created a rapid prototype by hand. The body of the robot housed the arduino controller which controlled the different lights that would be seen as eyes of the robot.

Step #3: Final Demonstration

For the final demonstration, I created a story line to showcase how the wearable would be used in the near future through a video as seen below.

Step #4: Next Steps

In order to help analyze the user emotions, I created a visualization of the emotions that the user experiences in a day and how the positive emotions outweigh the negative emotions by using this wearable.

This concept can also be used in future in scenarios where the users face difficulty with verbal communication so that we can understand them better and serve for their needs.

As next steps for this project, I want to research more about how devices can sense emotions, develop and design the human-machine interactions and test out the concept with other users to get feedback. I would also like to explore and see if this concept can be applied to fight depression, include a two way communication method and also try out different types of wearables options.