WHY SHOULD I CARE / RELEVANCY
We have all been in a situation where we are required to be strong, we need to pull through and be rational, not allowing our emotions to overcome us, but there are times where the “tough it up, be a brave soldier” approach can really hinder our wellbeing. Our heart gives us hints, sometimes not even so subtle: when we feel like it freezes, as our boss gives us a hard time at work, when it plummets at the news of a relative in trouble, or even just when it tightens up with tension just before a presentation. All these moments, piled up one on the other, if never addressed or addressed too late, rationalizing an event instead of getting the emotional comfort we need, can have ripercussions on both our emotional and physical wellbeing.
There are approximately 1 in 13 people worldwide who suffer from anxiety (40 million in the USA alone), suffering from periods of prolonged stress caused by a variety of reasons, from overworking to unaddressed emotional traumas, develop a proclivity to anxiety attacks, where their distress reaches peak heights described to be unbearable from them.
While these circumstances are considered to be extreme and any type of cure would fall under the domain of mental health, there are many things that can be each day to re-balance ourselves emotionally. Self-awareness, connection with our loved ones, comforting physical contact are all ways that contribute to bring us back to a place of wellbeing from one of distress.
With my work I propose a soft wearable interface that fosters digitally enabled empathy through embodied interactions with the purpose of contributing to the holistic health and wellbeing of people who wish to reconnect to their heart.
The concept is inspired by a few projects previously realized:
Both projects are a bit dated but have interesting concepts that I find exciting to implement:
These concepts are what I wish to implement in my IO<3 project, creating an "emotionally smart garment".
WHAT IS IT / Concept
Internet of <3 is a connected garment that allows people who are suffering from a situation of emotional and/or physical distress to connect to their heart and the one of a loved one. People who are in a state of anxiety, stress, panic, where their heart is giving them a warning signals, are enabled to become aware of their state and calm themselves down with the remote support of their loved ones.
HOW DOES IT WORK
The IO<3 garment will have the following components:
Optical Heart Sensor
To sense the user's heart rate and identify when the heart starts beating faster than usual. This will allow the garment to "ask" the user if the increase in heart rate requires assistance to soothe and relax (anxiety and distress) or not (excitement, physical exertion).
The sender will allow the user to send an SOS signal to the connected loved one(s) via Bluetooth. It will be something such as a soft pressure sensor or button, which will enable the activation of the Bluetooth connection which will send the message to the phone, which will send the message through an app.
The Bluetooth connection will enable the transfer of the SOS message from the user in distress to the user which has the connected garment or just the app connected to it. Once the message arrives to the loved one, she or he can send a soothing message.
The soothing actuator will be something of the kind of a vibration motor that can enable the user to give herself a massage by pressing on a pressure sensor when the soothing message arrives from the loved one.