Buddybeat

Wearable assistive technology to monitor anxiety among school children.

My Role - UX Researcher, Designer

Background

This project was a part of my HCI (Human Computer Interaction) course during my Masters degree and I designed this project along with two other team mates. This project addresses the ACM Conference challenge. The competition focused on the growing design domain of low-cost sensing technologies with proliferating applications available through mobile and internet technologies. The topic is ‘BodyData: Designing for Qualities of the Quantified Self’. The design idea we explain in this paper is the efficient children-care design an application and wearable technology which helps to monitor the anxiety level of children. 

Introduction

Anxiety disorder is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses found in children. Anxiety is a term covering several different forms of abnormal and pathological fear. Anxieties disorders are often chronic conditions and be present from an early age or in some cases begin suddenly after a triggering event. The disorder is frequently accompanied by multitude of physiological symptoms such as headache, excessive sweating, palpitations, muscle spasms and hypertension, which in some cases leads to fatigue and exhaustion and sometimes those affected can also flare up at times of high stress.

It is also important to known that anxiety disorder is more likely to occur among those with a positive family history of the disorder. Children and adolescents with anxiety disorder typically experience worry, intense fear, or uneasiness that can exist for a long span of time and significantly affect their everyday activity. If not detected and treated early, anxiety disorder can lead to frequent school absenteeism and inability to complete one’s education usually due to poor concentration and maladjustment. Some affected children have impaired relationship with their classmates, while others have low self-esteem. Failure to identify and manage the disorder in the earlier stage could also result in alcoholism later in adolescence and use of other hard drugs by affected persons and in some individuals the disorder continues into adult life. Anxiety symptoms are fairly common among children and adolescents and in future can interfere with functioning. The prevalence of anxiety and the relationship between anxiety and school performance were observed among elementary, middle, and high school students. 

Uncomfortable changes in heart rate are one of the most frequently reported symptoms of panic attacks as over 80% of those experiencing panic list a rapid or irregular heart rate as a symptom. People prone to anxiety may have palpitations more frequently when they find themselves in psychologically uncomfortable situations. The great majority of issues about the heart presented to physicians indicate a psychological rather than a physical problem. This design examined the correlation between heartbeat rates and anxiety. The idea is to use biometric parameters to monitor anxiety. Furthermore, we will approach results of analysis provided support for finding out the performance of our prototype. Our aim is to ensure a healthy academic environment, based on previous findings to design a prototype which asserts in wearable assistive technologies including illustration of our design decisions and demonstrate the design processes that have been followed clearly.

Process

Empathize

This project dealt with a very sensitive issue and the reason I chose this topic was because I had anxiety issues during childhood. To gain further knowledge, I met with parents whose children suffer from such issues.

research

Primary research included interviews with parents and primary and high school teachers.

Secondary research included studying previous research works from google scholar and other trustworthy publishers.

DESIGN

There is a combination hardware aspect and an app/digital aspect to this project. The hardware will consist of a fitbit like health band and an app to monitor and notify. 

testing

As this concept is very difficult to test, we tested only the functionalities like how easy the app data is to understand and how easy to set up and use.

Testing included first click tests to discover and understand functionalities. The ethical issues around testing with children prevented us from testing any further.

Ethical Issues

Children as users

As this project aims to help children and teenagers with anxiety issues, there are strict rules for any application that have age group of 6-11.

Biometric  Data

As the data collected will be bio-metric, it is highly sensitive to deal with and the application have to do through several approvals.

 

role of Machine learning and Big data Analysis

As the application will collect, store and process real time data, the amount of data will be too large so big data analysis will be applied and machine learning to help the application improve itself over time in providing more and more accurate details. 

 

Persona

Name - Shaun

Occupation - Middle School Student

Personality type - Introverted

Location - Dublin

Routine - Goes to school, have few friends in his classroom but prefer to stay with them during recess. During weekend, he likes to play with his father or with video games. Spends most of his time with his dog in the house. 

Frustrations - Fear of unfamiliar instances or the moments that involve socializing or talking in front of other people. Always have fear about missing the home work at home. Failure to enjoy the moment during such situation leading to further frustrations in future.

Goals - To be confident in-front of others.

Needs - Prefers to go unnoticed during such situation. Finding escape from moments of potential embarrassments. Small talk from people whom he trust like his parents or even his dog.

 

Snippets from Interviews

Children

Would love to talk to his parents or his friend if he feels uncomfortable during school hours.

Would help a lot if there is some kind of reminder service which reminds about not forgetting homework.

Parents

Want to help children but when they are in their school or away from them, they are not well informed about their health issues unless something serious happens.

Would love an automatic service which will detect and notify before hand.

 

teachers

Want to help students but there are so many students per teacher and most of the student prefer to stay silent when they face anxiety issues so teacher are clueless about the issue.

Will definitely talk to concerned student once alerted about any anxiety attack.

 

Introducing Buddybeat

Buddybeat

Buddybeat is a fitness tracker equipped with all kind of modern bio-metric sensors which continuously collect your vital data.

Buddybeat comes with an app which process your real time data and is trained with medical data to detect patterns leading to anxiety attack. Over the time, thanks to machine learning , it adapts itself to your medical record and is capable of detecting any sign of anxiety attack or even heart attack minutes before it actually happens and automatically sends alert to  concerned people who can help you to overcome any issue.

The tracker comes with in build internet which transmits all your data to the app. 

Device process flow

Device User Interface

App User Interface

Testing

Remote

First Click test

Shared the screenshots of the app along with some tasks to perform simple actions on the app to see where the test users are clicking first to find some information. 

 

think aloud usability moderated testing

Sat along few test participants and asked them to perform some simple tasks in the app. Emulated the app in Adobe XD.

 

Pritish Krishna Panda 2019

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