In this blog post we will discuss the transition from raw data to conceptual design.

Firstly, we had to analyze the data gathered from first user interviews, literature reviews, interviews with experts and second user study. This data were combined to one huge affinity diagram (in the picture below you can see a small piece of it).  After clustering post its and searching for patterns four categories emerged:

  1. symptoms (e.g. hot flashes, tiredness, sleeplessness, tiredness, deteriorating posture, osteoporosis, etc.),
  2. preventing & coping and treatment (e.g. exercise, medical treatments with hormones, motivating patients, changing lifestyle, etc.),
  3. technology suggestions (e.g.something for pain relief, comforting, something that senses the body temperature, etc.),
  4. experiences with current Vibe-ing (e.g., too heavy, too hot, pleasant vibrations, preffered as a cardigan or shawl, etc.).

IMG_9715  IMG_9728

After having the data structured and categorized, we started to search for possible gaps and niches for a new Vibe-ing design. This was done during afternoon discussion. Interestingly, from our data we noticed that there is a direct relationship between two symptoms – bad posture and osteoporosis. Apparently, with age women’s body needs more attention and decaying posture has influence on bad bones and weakening muscles. Could we use Vibe-ing to help women to sustain a good posture for longer and prevent or at least decrease the risk for osteoporosis? And, could we improve Vibe-ing’s design so, that the message to keep good posture would be sent in most natural and comforting way?

These questions triggered a challenge in us and we decided that we are going to solve it. We will design new Vibe-ing which is meant, through natural and comforting interactions, to help women straighten up.

To achieve our goals we had to do the following first – decide where to place vibrating motors and touch sensors, and then design the vibrating motors behavior and user’s interactions with Vibe-ing.
Here we could call for help to one of our experts. With advice of physiotherapist and rehabilitation scientist the decision was made that motors will be placed symmetrically on the back along the spine on the trapezius muscle and symmetrically on the lower belly (see the pictures below). In total we decided to use 16 motors.The touch sensors will be attached only to the 6 vibrating motors which are positioned on a lower belly. Those will be acting as a remote (users will be able to interact with Vibe-ing via touch) and the rest 10 (five pairs) vibrating motors on the back will act as a display (react on the users behavior).


With decision made where motors need to be placed we realized that the design of interactions and vibrating motors behavior will be our task in further phases of Vibe-ing project – prototyping and user testing. As already mentioned we will focus on design of natural and comforting interactions with Vibe-ing and the semantic level of communication, that is, how to translate vibrations into something meaningful for the user. We will considered both users’ body (vibrations felt by their skin on certain locations, and the corresponding posture change) and their mind (meaning they give to the certain interaction and/or vibration behavior, experience of using it, and social meaning of touch).

For next phase, we will work on the prototype of the garment and finalize the vibration patterns and interaction methods.