We’ve all felt stressed, but what if you could FEEL stress… like, with your hands! Better yet, what if you could see what it looks like? Experiencing stress in a whole new way might just give us the perspective we need to counteract it. That’s the idea behind the “Less Quantified Self – More Qualified You” project. The design is based upon the hypothesis that human intuition is likely to be influenced by the present form of self-tracking. Simply put, monitoring behavior will help inform action. The “Stressball” conceptual prototype is one such self-tracking device. It communicates body data in a haptic and visual way by using a continuous physical transformation between a soft and a rough surface. This reproduction of data corresponds with the human body perception and delivers adequate space for intuition development.
The interactive Stressball determines a user’s stress level by measuring the skin conduction with an external sensor. The value is translated into a physical transformation of its spherical surface – the change oscillates between a smooth and a rough texture. By touching the surface the measurement can be experienced in a haptic way. The transformation is created by miniature nobs, which move out the ball’s surface. The length of the nobs reflects the intensity of the stress level. Through actively touching, pressing or stroking the object, the user quickly starts to sharpen his or her tactile perceptual capacity and to associate different surface conditions with his or her individual stress level. When the colored nobs expand, their movement changes the uni-colored surface into a multicolored sculpture.
580 nobs and the outer shell of the prototype are 3D printed. Every single nob is installed with a compression spring. The effect is realized by a balloon, which pushes the nobs out of Stressball’s skin by inflation.
Designer: Simone Schramm