Respiration Prototype Testing:
Last week, Simon and I met with Dan O’Sullivan and Simon’s PCOMP professor, Tom Igoe to get some feedback/advisement on our project idea. We were advised to rethink ways to incorporate more interactivity with our user and perhaps give focus to factors we can consciously control such as breathing, as opposed to heart rate, that we cannot unless accompanied by an universal trigger.
On Friday night, we tested the EeonTex conductive stretch fabric we ordered a week ago that we want to incorporate in our wearable to be used to measure respiration (and to be tested as a potential alternative to electrodes with adhesive backing). We tested its conductivity and stretch with a multimeter, then cut two 1/2″ x 13″ strips held together with safety pins to wrap around the chest. As we moved the alligator clips closer to the sternum at about 1″ ~ 1 1/4″ apart, we were able to visualize via serial monitor a consistent variation of ~30 points from deep breaths in and deep breaths out. We tested on ourselves, Sam, MH, and Leon.
To visualize our data in P5, we sat down with Leon to program the data to adjust accordingly to each individual.
My task this weekend was to make a working and adjustable prototype to playtest on Monday. I made and tested many to optimize data visualization. Different lengths, widths, layers, stitches, and combination of fabrics, but what we found in testing each prototype that followed was that our first safety pin prototype worked best.
The biggest challenge is working with stretch fabric with poor elastic retention. Every time the fabric is stretched out, it grows. That means we need to design a closure that not only accommodates people of different chest widths, but also accounts for fabric growth over time. This was a headache because I would test on myself and it would work perfectly, but if I tried to test on myself again after Simon, Jesse, and Kai, it would be too loose and noise would appear on screen. After many bouts of momentary successes followed by failure and frustration, I think I managed to make an adjustable prototype by repurposing some clasps from a backpack someone left on the junk shelf. The real challenge will come when we attempt to incorporate it in a garment, but for now, I have documentation it worked last night: