I went on a field trip to Chicago, and was inspired by the installations on millennium park.
The interaction for this system is modelled on the behavior of individuals, when in front of a mirror, to check or fix themselves by adjusting their outward appearance. Analogous to using the hands to fix a crease on the shirt or adjusting a tie, this system employs body centered natural user interactions to check various aspects of personal health.
At the beginning of this project, in order to understand the technology and gesture tracking mechanism, an initial prototype of the system was build using the Cinder Framework and Kinect. The system tracked four basic gestures to retrieve heart-rate, calories, steps and sleep data.
In order to further develop this system and build a large-scale-display based installation, a short survey was conducted to determine the most appropriate body mnemonics or gestures for interaction. Six participants were selected at random, and were asked to label a set of parameters onto an outline of a human figure. The parameters included heart-rate, sleep, calories, steps, emotional state and overall wellbeing.
Once instructed, participants were able to perform the gestures with ease, and appreciated this new way of visualizing body data. They preferred this approach of providing numerical values for current data, and encoding past data using colors, over scatter plots. The blurred background helped them focus on the context, their own body, and understand the significance of the parameters being displayed. They were particularly intrigued by the animated heart, whose beating rate encoded the heart-rate value in beats per minute. All of the gestures presented in this system are discrete, and attempt to preserve the context, in this case the part of the body that the data can be most associated with. Placing your palm over your chest gives the notion of sensing your heartbeat, which is exactly what a heart rate monitor does. Calories and food is associated with the stomach and “waist-line”, and placing your hand around the waist shows the number of calories burnt. It is almost natural to stretch oneself after a nap, and doing so shows information about sleep. The virtual avatar is replaced by the real self, and by using the mirror like display, the interaction promotes the natural mirror behavior, to check one’s appearance, in this case both outward and inner wellbeing.