Wearable Technology and eHealth: Lesson Three

Tech gadgets are fun to play with, but how can we build on existing technology to form new and innovative eHealth solutions? Our third lesson of the Wearable Technology and eHealth course investigated these possibilities.

I began by introducing students to a brief history of connectivity. Our discussion then focused on biohacking and principles for designing with empathy in order to humanize product systems. We concluded that context is king. Building off of the VanUE event hosted at VFS earlier in the week (coincidentally focused on Wearables) our key point landed on a quote from the speaker, Kharis O’Connell. He talked about how “the biggest challenge will be finding compelling use cases for all this technology.”  

To apply these conclusions into tangible solutions, a studio-style workshop gave students an opportunity to use the devices from lesson two as prototyping tools. (hint: more playing with gadgets!). Groups built conceptual connected objects to respond to a health-related end goal and experience goal of their personas. This time they enhanced the available technology with cardboard, Legos, string, tape, straws and a variety of other materials.

One highlight of the session utilized the Sphero. A pair of students worked to create a digitally enhanced system for guiding the visually impaired. In the duration of the workshop they were able to prototype and test at least six iterations that enhanced the Sphero using balloons, string, a grocery bag, straws and cardboard. Starting with an ankle-based guide for a wheelchair user they learned that their hands were more adept in sensing directional movement. The students learned through testing their product that it worked best on carpet and needed further revision to be street-ready.

In this lesson, the class focused on tactile learning through making objects. As we move forward in the course we will be returning back to the smart phone and prototyping interfaces to test with our products. Stay tuned for more wearable and eHealth problem-solving fun.


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