Matthew Lawrence Christy
UXD/HCI Student / Game Designer


Physical Prototyping

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Physical Prototyping: Wearables

The topic of this assignment was wearable computing. Our team created a physical prototype of an interface that could be worn on the body. Our design had to include the following following specifications:

  • A jacket that provides the wearer with information about their skin temperature, the outside temperature, their heart rate, and breathing rate

  • Wearer can initiate a blood pressure test and find out results

  • Syncs with phone to receive text messages and answer incoming call

Sketching Ideas
FUSS - Wearable Technology: Physical Prototyping

Jacket Sketches

We started with a general idea of how we wanted the jacket to operate.

Some preliminary considerations:

  • How would it measure biometric data?

  • What kind of sensors would it use?

  • How would it be washed and dried?

  • How does it measure blood pressure?

  • How does it display biometric data?

FUSS - Wearable Technology: Physical Prototyping
Physical Wearable Prototype
FUSS - Wearable Technology: Physical Prototyping

Prototype: Alpha

Advanced sensors and biometric measuring data is woven into a prototype. The fabric is fleece-like and not very comfortable.

FUSS - Wearable Technology: Physical Prototyping

Prototype: Beta

The jacket was re-worked while considering the foundational technology. The result was a sleeker and more comfortable prototype, using lightweight fabrics that were breathable.

Mobile Application Design
FUSS - Wearable Technology: Physical Prototyping

Application Sketches

Rough sketches of what the app should include were drafted.

What should the application include?

  • Basic, yet intuitive functionality.

  • Biometric data.

  • Historical data.

  • Ability to pull in stats from other health devices and apps.

  • Personalization.

  • Privacy.

Prototype Feedback
FUSS - Wearable Technology: Physical Prototyping

Feedback 1: Male respondent via text message

Feedback 2: Female respondent (a track and field athlete) via an audio message: 

"I love the concept of this jacket, and I think it would be helpful for many people, especially those who are 40 years +, and anyone that needs to monitor their heart rate. I love the one-time synchronization, too, kind of like with headphones; you only have to sync them once, and it works. A suggestion is, what if when you zip up the jacket it automatically engages through the action of zipping up instead of pressing the logo? I think that would be cool."


Prototyping and Pitch Video

Considerations and Reflections:

While doing this prototype, we took a general approach that was design-focused but also approached this from a marketing/advertising perspective. It was challenging to develop something that seemed like a direct competitor to giants like FitBit and Garmin while keeping the design unique.  

Fabric- We had to research fashion and fabric design as no member had a background in this sector. Fabric proved to be a challenge as it should be resistant to different weather conditions and lightweight and breathable for the user who intends to use it for longer.

Display- The initial idea was to go for a display that makes the jacket an independent wearable, but the choice to add the app made the jacket more accessible.

Sync -  There is a potential for linking the prototype to other bio trackers for users that want more detailed health and body tracking.

App - Some elements were a little too small to observe, especially if you're look at it while moving around. A second iteration of prototype design should ensure app elements are larger.