Background: This project was a part of 'TEI 2020 Student Design Challenge' as finalists, under the theme 'Future bodies, future technologies'. We conceptualized a Mixed Reality (MR) headset with EEG sensor integrated, to monitor and alleviate stress at future work places. Our submission—"Mixed Reality for Stress Relief" comprising of a research paper and a video, was published by ACM Digital library. We presented our work at the TEI 2020 International Conference organized at Sydney, Australia.
Timeline: 3 weeks
Speculate on how humans will create synergies between future digital and physical technologies that can be worn and embedded or can be integrated with biological bodies and living organisms.
A mixed reality headset app that will help workers relieve stress by changing their ’immediate vicinity’ i.e. augmenting the surrounding environment to make it more personalized and calming when needed.
The design prompt challenged us to envision the implications of future technologies. To speculate and design something for the future world with countless possibilities, the obvious first step was to understand what emerging technologies look like, what are the affordances and limitations etc. We studied and reviewed many relevant videos, blogs, TED talks, academic papers, etc. to hit the ground running.
Design prompt had suggested a few technologies to consider. Honestly, it was intimidating at first and we were awestruck to explore and learn about the following future technologies and the endless possibilities:
Considering the short time span to assess something totally new with the little expertise, we decided to focus on the emerging technologies that are currently in the developing state but have high potential to become prevalent in the next 5-10 years.
Finding a right problem to solve
Now technology aspect will be taken care of but how to utilize it? What problem it will solve? It was obvious to identify the problem space, given the open-ended nature of the prompt. We did some generative research and brainstormed a few options including fashion, sustainability, healthcare and few others. We critically evaluated the shortlisted design spaces and narrowed them down. Finally with affinity diagraming and elimination methods, we converged our thoughts unanimously on the topic of 'Mental wellness'.
We reviewed the existing research being done in the fields of mental wellbeing, mood detection, affective computing, biofeedback and personal healthcare, with the applications of data and sensors. We came across some interesting facts about workers in the United States.
How might we help employees alleviate their stress at workplace and improve productivity using non-invasive future technology?
Points that I would like to explore when resources are available: