Beat it

Placement matters

After yesterday's ideation we realized we wanted to make something that is attached to the body instead of something you just see or hold.
With the software we could regulate speed and strength of the beat. We tried to attach the servo to four different spots while trying it with or without hearing it (muting the sound with headphones).

testing the beat on my wrist
testing the beat on my wrist
sketch of the spots we tested the servo on

All placements other than having it in the palm felt really similar. We both had a hard time distinguishing the machine beat from our own heart beat. When it was weak I didn't notice it much but when we dialed up the strength and speed it felt like your heart was pounding, like you are running or scared.


sketch of the GUI we used to test

We built a simple GUI to test if we can communicate a sense of how "dangerous" the action is. It's some kind of feed forward but very abstract, you will just get a feeling for how nervous you should be when performing the action. When you hover the save button the beat slows down and becomes less strong and when you hover delete it becomes stronger and faster.

The "save" feedforward wasn't that obvious but the "delete" felt quite dangerous, like something bad would happen. We also tried it on a class mate and her reactions where very different when she saw the GUI or just felt the beat. When she had not seen the GUI she could feel the changes but didn't put much meaning into them. When she could see the GUI and move the mouse she felt it more strongly and associated it to danger like Josefine and me.

Take aways

I think we learned a lot today. The beat may have some kind of quality that makes us associate it with our own body and not think of it as an external artefact. This was a really strange and strong insight. The placement also means a lot, maybe because some spots would be associated with medicine and the cable running from your wrist feels like some kind of intravenous tube?

We still lack some nuance in our prototypes. The beat can be adjusted finely but we have no way for the user to do this. Maybe we need a more complex GUI and task for the user to do.