(1) Felt-Experiences of self-regulation for stress and relaxation,
(2) Poetics of Breathing and Body Movement,
(3) Materials for Relaxation Responses,
(4) Kinetic Feedback that supports Self-Regulation for Relaxation and Stress-release
Based on conducted to address two supporting questions:
(1) What functional tactile elements on a soft wearable design portray breathing and body movements, and
(2) How do compression and expansion on the upper body afford a natural mapping to felt-sensations of stress and release?
As a warm up, participants were asked to sit in front of Noeme 1.0 and Noeme 2.0, which were presented on the mannequin, side-by-side. The prototypes were nonfunctional at this time. Participants were prompted to take 1 minute to visually assess the prototypes while sitting in a chair. During the 1-minute quiet observation period, the design-researcher sat directly behind the participant to visually assess their chest activity to count their respiration rate. To ensure that their normal respiration rate was collected, participants were not informed until after the breath count was taken. The collection of their respiration rate provided a contextual understanding on what their ‘normal’ is during the conversational interviews.
Experiential Sessions with Noeme 1.0 & Noeme 2.0
Participants were then given up to 10 minutes to freely explore the two soft wearable designs on the mannequins. For the first 5 minutes, the kinetic feedback presented on both designs are mapped to the normal adult respiration rate of 15 breaths per minute, then mapped to a slow deep breathing rate of 6 breaths per minute.
Open-ended Conversational Interviews
After 5 minutes, with Noeme 1.0, and 2.0 still functioning, participants are asked a series of questions (see image above).
Five design considerations were proposed for future explorations and iterations on soft wearable designs supporting self-regulation for relaxation and stress-release.
Applying elliptic, elongated shapes that are soft, light-weight in density with a springy, directional compression and expansion on the trapezius region can evoke a somatic-based response for stress release.
Applying elliptic, elongated shapes that are soft, light-weight in density with a springy, up-and-out compression and expansion on the chest can support participants to develop a self-awareness to their breathing and also act as a visual guide for regulating their breathing.
Applying rotund, organic shapes that are soft, light-weight in density, with a radial compression and expansion on the chest, can evoke an affective-based response for stress release.
To maintain visual structure while achieving a smooth, comfortable tactile experience - when designing with wool felt, integrate a lining on the inside of the soft wearable design.
The electronic mechanisms needs to be hidden as much as possible to foreground the functional tactile elements, textile insulation can help mitigate and soften the motor sounds.