"Self-tracking" or "Quantified-self" means the self-determined collection of body data. It involves the automatic and mostly chronological recording of biological, physical, mental and behavioral data. "Less Quantified Self – More Qualified You" is based upon the hypothesis that human body perception and intuition are likely to be influenced by the present form of self-tracking. This trend is highly characterized by quantification, the communication of body data via numbers, lists and diagrams and a gapless documentation. As an interface designer I try to find ways to challenge this development. Numbers are objective. Human perception is subjective and cannot be reduced to a common denominator. I would like to introduce two innovative and unique self-tracking devices. Both communicate body data in a purely haptic and visual way by using physical surface transformations. This reproduction of data corresponds with the human body perception and delivers adequate space for our innate intuition.
Simone Schramm, Interface Designer MA.
Concept 01/ Interactive Prototype 01: Stressball
Stress level is determined by measuring an individual's skin conduction with an external sensor. The value is translated into an analogue, physical transformation of a spherical surface – the change oscillates between a smooth and a rough texture. By touching the surface the measurement can be experienced in a haptic way. The transformation is visualized with miniature nobs, which move out from the ball's surface. The length of the nobs reflects the intensity of the stress level. Through actively touching, pressing or stroking the object, the user quickly starts to sharpen his or her tactile perceptual capacity and to associate different surface conditions with his or her individual stress level. Transitions of the transformation are fluent and do not include any fixed steps, nor implies categories of stress levels. This reproduction of stress corresponds with the human body perception and delivers adequate space for innate intuition. When the colored nobs expand, their movement changes the uni-colored surface into a multicolored sculpture. The effect underlines the emotional accessibility and the three-dimensionality of the product.
An individual's level of muscle tension is communicated by the narrowness of the fabric within this muscle shirt prototype. The textile is gathered through contractions on the back of the garment. The physical transformation ranges between the properties "wide" and "comfortably tight". It is perceived by the skin surface and has the potential to enhance an adequate posture of the wearer. This transformation can also be associated with speed and agility, which is related to physical activity during exercise. Transitional transformations within the garment are fluent and do not include any fixed steps, nor implies categories of muscle tension. This reproduction of muscle behavior corresponds with the human body perception and delivers adequate space for innate intuition. In addition to the haptic experience the registered measurements are also communicated in a visual way. The upper layer of the fabric has a finely sliced structure that gets pulled apart through the contraction and reveals an underlying colored layer. The originally monotonous seeming grey fabric transforms into a colorful and more lively appearing piece of fashion.