Qualica is a conceptual new wearable device. Qualica is intelligent, meaning it is able to detect the user’s context by using location information. Additionally, Qualica has access to multiple data sources by integrating with popular third party services; one’s activities (running, cycling), social media, health data and environmental information (e.g. the weather). The contextual information is used to decide which of these datasets to display. The user can configure the device via the app, connecting datasets to various contexts.
Qualica relies on a minimalistic display to communicate with the user, making information quick and glanceable. For more in-depth information behind Qualica’s display, the accompanying app can be used.
This semester you showed how everything comes together, as expected as M2.2 level. ...
Your idea of a data processing and visualization chain that extracts layers of data, which then can be visualized, is convincing not only at the technical level, but also aesthetically and from a user perspective.
I found an opportunity to improve communication of health data to people. I have worked on improving personal health care by improving visual display of data based on context. Over time, the concept has shrunk from a broad problem description (improving personal health care) towards a small and simple application. This is what a design process is about; starting broad and trimming away the fat until a core opportunity remains.
What is it that people actually want to know in relation to digital health? Do they want access to raw sensor data, or do they just want the insights. I’ve found the latter case to be true most of the time. In that respect, data sculptures are interesting and aesthetically pleasing objects, but don’t integrate with the daily lives of people. Therefore I focussed on dynamic displays of data, while preserving the tangible aspect; which is what made the physical data sculptures interesting in the first place.
This has resulted in the Qualica concept proposal. Apart from technical limitations, I aim at showing how an integrated product creates a unique User Experience, combining elements of data visualisation and product design.
During this project I experienced the difference between generating intellectual property and creating applications. Typically, designers create applications for a user in a specific context. In this job we’re limited by technical constrains; sometimes these are sensor limitations, other times these are material ones. At Holst engineers are extending the boundaries of materials and sensors, so that (for example) designers can expand the purpose of their applications or create completely new ones. Being close to the source of such developments, has allowed me to create applications with these future developments in mind. I consider new developments in technology a fertile soil for new products, especially in the consumer electronics and health industries.
Think about it; who would want the next generation Xbox console if it had the exact same specifications in a differently designed box or a newly designed controller? This is just a simple example; developments in the health industry are often more abstract and require in-depth knowledge about the industry.
As a result, I became increasingly aware the developments in the field. This is reflected by the market exploration, which also included products that have yet to enter the market. Such extrapolation gives a better perspective on what the market is currently heading towards.
Data Driven Approach
My goal was finding patterns in personal health data that could provoke ideas for new concepts in relation to health. To ensure I had a platform for analysis and visualisation of this data, an information infrastructure has been set up. For visualisation I acquired knowledge of the D3.js framework, which is currently the state-of-the art framework for web-based visualisation. This in turn enabled me to do the diary study on the value of such “raw” data for potential users. Rather than wire framing functionalities based on “dummy” data. I aimed at rapidly creating prototypes using real data. With a growing amount of complexity in User Interfaces in particular with regards to data visualisation. I foresee this as a new approach for designers, a data driven approach; working with representative data from the start.
I aimed at practising design at an academic level during my graduation project. The paper and subsequent presentation in WSCG in Czech Republic serve as recognition that the topic is academically relevant. Based on this project I have draft plans to work on a follow-up paper, since the current paper covers just portion of the work.
Moreover, I want to take the opportunity to work a bit more on design research as I feel there isn’t a lot of support for this kind of research outside university walls.