Danielle Roberts


Acupressure wearable

We want to measure and display a mood or inner state. This data is send to a garment which has a pattern of LED's. These are placed on pressure points taken from the acupressure therapy. Depending on your state different LED's light up. The wearer of the garment or other people become aware of the inner state and can interact with the garment. By pressing the LED's (which also act as buttons) pressure is applied to the points thus helping the wearer to feel better.


brainstorm.jpg - Gathering ideas

After the introduction Anja, Barbara and Danielle discovered that we have a mutual interest in visualizing moods, emotions and inner states, things that are usually hidden from other people. Becoming aware of the inner state is one of the goals of our prototype.
We want to work with sensors that measure bio-feedback signals in form of heart rate, sweat (GSR) or breath rate. We realize that it will be impossible to make a really accurate system in two days. But for a prototype any bio-feedback sensor that works will do. If we can't get a sensor to work we will work with a set of switches which indicate different moods like energetic, happy, angry, and afraid.
After the brainstorm session today where we explored the (im)possibilities of the techniques present. On the second day we'll start by making the garment with LED's / buttons. Once that's working we can start by lighting the right sensors depending on the mood. The final stage will be selecting the best sensors.
Helena who had to leave feeling ill yesterday joined us.
We've made a decision on the inner states and the pressure points connected with it.
The moods we can relieve with the wearable are:
Anger - pressure point LU1
Chaos - pressure point CV17
Panic - pressure point P6
Depression - pressure point K27
Low energy - pressure point CV6
In plain English the program would do the following:
On wake up
Check your inner state
If one or more states are true
set the switches
put on your e-Pressed garment
Put the LED's on for 5 minutes
Loop every hour
check the states
put LED's on
after 1 minute
if LED is not pressed
LED start blinking
turn LED off
the LED is pressed for 10 seconds
LED blinks once
turn LED off
end loop
At the end of the day
Set all switches to false
The garment is turned off
We started the production process by making the buttons. They're made of felt pads with embedded white LED's, protective layering and conductive fabric. When pressed the fabric connects and turns the LED off.
We developed a concept for putting in the different states. Five pieces of conductive fabric will be sewn on the outside and inside of the sleeve. Each of them representing a state. A hairpin or clip will function as a switch. With a pin the state is on, without it it's off. We sewed these switches today.
The programming is difficult because there are five states to set and loop through. We'll continue tomorrow and start off with one mood.
On arrival we discovered that 3 of the 8 push buttons weren't stable. We improved them by making the contact spot smaller. Barbara and Anja started on sewing the 'wiring'. Danielle worked with Dirk on the circuit and the programming. Helena was ill again. Dirk drew a schema for the Arduino board working with one mood switch, one pressure button with embedded LED.
After we wrote the code we had to wait for the wiring before we could test it. Using the conductive thread and fabric makes the device very sensitive to short circuiting. Although we tested all the wiring it wasn't working properly. We didn't have the time to debug and check where the errors were.
The uploading of the program to the Lilypad was not very transparent. Jean-Baptist connected some crocodile clips to the Lilypad and to an ordinary Arduino board.
In the end it wasn't possible to have the wearable working in the way we designed it. The interaction wasn't possible. J-B altered the program so the lights were always on and it was running on its own power supply.
We put the prototype on a model and for the first time we could see the effect. The buttons/switches are clearly inviting interaction. Their function is clear. The wiring has effect of the veins or meridians which is very much in tune with the concept. On the whole we are pleased with the way the technology is integrated in the design. The homemade switches were necessary to achieve this result.
As a team we plan to meet up and develop the prototype further. Going step by step and sharpening ideas about interaction, design of wiring and switches. We see lots of possebilities for use of this wearable like personisation and shirts for treating a special complaint.