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Title: Responsive and emotive wearable technology : physiological data, devices and communication
Author: Ashford, Rain
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 4813
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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My research practice and thesis investigates how wearable technology can be used to create new forms of nonverbal communication. Using devices developed through my practice, I explore how physiological data can be drawn from the body, then visualised and broadcast. I examine the opinions and requirements of potential users and observers of this technology, through qualitative responses in interviews and surveys from focus groups and field tests. I have analysed the resulting data to extract preferences and concerns, plus the requirements for the functionality and aesthetics of these devices. I discuss the social and cultural aspects of wearing such devices, as well as the issues, including how privacy may be affected and the implications of recording personal data. I examine my practice in the context of the work of the communities and practitioners in the field, and introduce two new terms to label two sub-sections of wearable technology. These are ‘responsive wearables’ and ‘emotive wearables’, and they form part of the distinctive contribution that I make. Reflecting on the evolution of my practice has led to other contributions regarding the development of wearable technology. Through this, I identify and share the insights into the disciplines and processes required for the fusion of technology and design successfully to evolve electronics, code and materials into research prototypes. I conclude by discussing findings from my practice, research and studies with potential users of emotive wearables. I comment on the impact that physiologically sensing wearable technology has on aspects of social interaction for the individual as well as for the wider community. I open the discussion on future research by revealing two new examples of emotive wearables — the AnemoneStarHeart and the ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress — which have evolved from pinpointing specific areas of the focus group and field test feedback that I undertook.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral