MEEMO & CUECO

Meemo & Cueco is a self-interest project done in Social Body Lab of OCAD University, Toronto, Canada, under the Mentorship of Kate Hartman in Summer 2013. Meemo is a wearable audio journal and Cueco is conceptual wearable; both based on idea of self talking.

Recognition: Meemo was presented in the Doctoral consortium of ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interface 2014 in Israel in Feb 2014. It was also presented in the Asia Pacific Computer Human Interaction Conference (APCHI2013) in Sep 2013.

conference banner


MEEMO – WEARABLE AUDIO JOURNAL AND MOBILE APPLICATION

Meemo is a wearable device designed to capture and self-reflect on your self-talk sessions (soliloquy). The wearable device works in sync with the smartphone app presenting visualizations to aid in introspection and self-reflection.

USER STUDY

We conducted preliminary user research by detailed personal interviews to gain some first hand information on (a) whether they have the habit of talking to themselves or not (b) If they do, what is the nature of such talks (c) In what context of space and emotional state of mind do such talks happen etc.

user interviews

Priliminary User Interviews to understand various aspects of self talking.

KEY INSIGHTS
  1. Most people talk to themselves, usually to gain clarity of their thoughts and to vent out what is their in their mind. A very important social connotation came to our notice that majority of people talk to themselves, and yet we never see anyone doing that.
    These talking sessions generally happen in private when no one can see you.
  2. Traditionally it was believed that if you talk to yourself, you might be suffering/suffer
    in near future from ill mental illness. At the same time, some of the users we interviewed believed that talking to themselves is rather healthy and it helps them in making decisions, solving problems, calming down their anger etc.
  3. The users expressed a desire to record these self talk sessions and that they sometimes try and do that by noting down their thoughts, scribbling or using a voice recording function in their cell phone but all they were clueless on why they fail to use them on a regular basis.
  4. Also, we noted that majority of people who talk to themselves, refrain from doing so in the presence of others. Some remarked that it may scare them out. We are not used to seeing people talking to themselves and it could be said that it is still considered as a social-anomaly.
Based on the key insights, certain design decisions were taken: 

Design Guidelines

Design Decision Taken

Why so?

Placement (where on body it should go)

Neckline of the Apparel.

(a) Very good quality of voice recording is needed for speech recognition systems.
(b) It is the one of the most unobstructive areas to place your wearable design.

Form Language (defining the shape)

Clean and Minimal

(a) After developing few prototypes of various forms (from circular to dumbell), we designed a clean, minimal form as it suited the simple conceptual nature of the project.
(b) The device should not stand out from the clothing, its minimal form should fuse itself in the appearance of the wearer, and become transparent to others.

Weight (as it is spread across the human body)

Very light-weight

Since, the device is required to be worn for very long hours, it should very light-weight ; its weight should not be realized by the wearer as an effective design solution.

Sizing (for body size diversity)

Miniature and Slim

(a) Since, the device is to be placed on the neckline of the clothing, the size has to be very small, about half the size of your palm.
(b) The design has to be thin so that it is unobstructive to the wearer.

Containtment (considering what’s inside the form)

After the initial explorations, we made a circuit board by hacking into an off-the-shelf

video recorder circuit and made a circuit board which can records CD quality sound onto an

inbuilt SD memory card and also connects to a smartphone or a computer through a micro

USB port. It was powered by a rechargable 9V lithium battery.

To record the voice and working of the wearable audio journal.

Accessibility (physical acess to the forms

Different textured Areas to tap for switching on and off the device.

(a) Since the device will not visible to the wearer once it is worn on the clothing, we have to rely the tactile senses of the body to operate device
(b) Human touch can identify the difference between two different textures, so we are using two different textures for switching on and off the device.

Aesthetics (perceptual appropriateness)

Minimal, Clean and Simplictic

After alot of protypes with various forms {circular to dumbell} and many prototyping materials like silicon, leather etc. We designed a clean and minimal 3d rendered device,

Sensory Interactions ( for passive or active input)

Active inputs collected through the meduim of speech

Through the meduim of speech, the system can identify various emotions, and also present the sudio data in text format so as to saave the user from writing down one’s thoughts.

Prototyping

MEEMO PROTOTYPES3 copy2 copy

Final Designsmeemo-product_LOW

Meemo Product Interaction Design

D2

Meemo Final Design

MEEMO MOBILE APPLICATION

The mobile application helps in visualising the prominent themes of the recorded self-talk sessions.The application is to help the users visualise the recorded data in a meaningful way. The audio data is transcribed into text just after syncing with Meemo. The application retains the original recorded track but presents the key highlights of the self talk sessions .

Speech recognition and transcription:

We built a test application based on Google’s Automatic Speech recognition (ASR) [8] plugin that is available for open-source community through Processing language. This transcribes the speech into text. Although this plugin had its own limitations of it being unable to work offline and requiring a noise-free voice data to work accurately, under ideal studio conditions, it was good enough to demonstrate the possibility.

POTENTIAL APPLICATION IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

Although we were designing the wearable as a generic device for anyone to use, an interesting context of use in Psychotherapy emerged during the process. One of the widely followed therapeutic techniques called Cognitive Behavioral therapy prescribes a self-reflective journal writing practice called CBT Thought Records and our wearable device can be a very effective replacement to the written thought record. We worked in close connection with a Psychotherapist in Toronto in conceptualizing this application.

First Author of paper based on Meemo. It was accepted in ACM International Intelligent User Interface Conference in Israel and in APCHI 2013.

Design Paper on CBT as a potential application for memo.


PART II: CUECO – EXPRESSIVE INTERACTIVE WEARABLES

Cueco was imagined as a device that has a character of its own and the person wearing it could talk to it.

Cueco Ideations: Exaggeration of the idea of exploitation of privacy : A complete private cover suit to express this exploitation. Interactive Wearable: An expressive wearable product/apparel that makes you aware of his presence by vibrations/ contraction etc.

cueco sketches

Cueco Ideations

Cueco is a bright green color neck hugging Pet wearable. It has these long tentacles which can be folded into expressive shapes of your liking. When you are not talking to the Ceuco for a long time (say 2 hours) the cueco tentacles starts to recede and curl into itself.

Cueco2

Cueco

Possessive Cueco: On further note of exaggeration, we designed a fictional necklace which will slowly stran- gles you when you are not talking to it.

POSESSIVE CUECO

Possesive Cueco


My Contribution in the project:

1. Design Process
2. Wearability and Prototype development
3. Interface Design

Project in collaboration with Manikandan Hk, National Institute of Design.

 

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