The project ‘Data For Experience’ considers how technology has allowed humans to access and interpret data in ways that could have not been imagined before. Nowadays, one can access enormous amounts of information and transform it into something readable and possibly meaningful in relatively easy ways, which makes one wonder how it may evolve in the future. We increasingly realise that there is information being generated everywhere and the challenge now is how we can translate it into something tangible.
The objective of this project is to utilise raw data, decrypt it and finally generate a design outcome that promotes an experience and a connection to its user. ‘Data For Experience’ started as a group project during the initial research period, becoming individual afterwards.
Nikkō is a spectacles’ brand whose lenses change colour according to surrounding lighting and the user’s mental well-being. It provides a full spectrum of bright light in places where daylight cannot be integrated, which constitute the majority of workplaces.
My area of research was personal state of mind, and how data could improve personal well-being and its relationship with oneself. At that stage, an ethnography kit was developed. With the results gathered, I organised it and affinitised it in order to generate additional insights and most importantly, areas of opportunity. I chose to follow the idea of incorporating our experiences and relations in our daily activities in order to overcome negative feelings.
In order to understand what makes people happy or sad, and most importantly why these are only momentary situations—especially the happy ones—I had to understand what is, indeed, happiness. How can we classify happy moments and why doesn’t the feeling last longer? Fulfilment is a brief moment. Could I make it last longer or at least make these moments even more valuable?
Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice
To find plausible answers to these questions, I researched about the psychology and reasoning behind happiness, and investigated opinions of experts in the area, such as Daniel Kahneman or Barry Schwartz. Such information gave me a deeper understanding about happiness, and how I could develop my opportunity, and generate a concept. Rather than aiming for happiness, I should aim for peace of mind and stability in our emotions. In simple terms, the idea should be to overcome the negative by providing the tools to digest it.
Daniel Kahneman: The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory
Identifying a concept
Out of my early concepts, I focused on the idea of eye contacts that change light according to the user’s mood.
In this situation, the user doesn’t like grey weather so the contacts change the light effect in order to provide more colour to the day, thus making the user happier and relaxed.
In this second scenario, the user is at work and cannot concentrate, as there are many distractions around. The system detects it, so the lenses become blurry except for the area where the user is focusing his sight, thus eliminating unnecessary visual clutter.
Refining the concept
In order to validate the concept I was trying to define, I started researching about the effects of light and its connection with our emotional well-being. how important the appropriate amount of light at the right time is to a person’s well-being, but most importantly how this not only affects one’s state of mind at work, but also at home afterwards.
Benefits of using a full spectrum of bright light in places where daylight cannot be integrated:
- Adjusts internal clock
- Improves productivity
- Less work accidents
- Mental performance
- Improvement in sleep quality
- Increase of morale in night shifts
Simultaneously I looked at ways to improve the productivity and concentration, but also relaxation at work. There is a strong belief that music helps focus on different tasks (ex: the much-known Mozart Effect). With means to validate that idea, I tested on myself thematic playlists for three days, according to my different activities. These proved to work effectively, especially the ones developed for concentration/work, nevertheless the earbuds were uncomfortable with time. I also investigated the role of glasses in popular culture, but as well small rituals or issues that spectacles’ owners have on a daily basis.
At that point, I started refining the experience and developed what the touch-points would be for different functionalities and moments.
Take a Break
Do Not Disturb
When the user needs a break, the sensor identifies it and the lenses become steamy/blurry. The only way to get them back is to take the glasses off and clean the lenses with a cloth, as if it was real steam. This interaction makes the user rest the eyes from the computer screen and clear the mind for a minute.
When the user needs to focus at work, the lenses become blurry except in the focus area, therefore shutting down all eventual distractions in the surrounding area.
When the user does not wish to be interrupted, a little light is activated, which makes it noticeable to other co-workers and avoids unnecessary disruptions. This light is activated in the same way as when the user adjusts the glasses in the nose.
I also developed quick paper prototypes that helped me testing the location and interaction of the distinct features of the glasses. This method was more useful than sketching per se as I could easily understand what worked well. It also helped me build the final prototype faster, as I had detected already the issues that needed to be resolved before going into the final model.
Creating a Brand
The more developed the prototype was, the more I considered the whole product as a brand. I kept wondering how the service would look like, where and how could people buy the glasses and what could be the aesthetic and communication of the whole product. In that sense, I took the decision to create a brand, a service, and a website around it.
I named the brand Nikkō, which means daylight in Japanese, the land of the rising sun.
The Final Product consists of the glasses and the App that interacts with them. The glasses connect via Bluetooth with the user’s phone and have embedded speakers on the side. They are rechargeable inside the box that is connected to a wall plug on its turn.
After ordering Nikkō online, the user receives a package with the glasses, box, cloth, charger and an instructions booklet.
The Internet changed the way our world works and how information is shared and processed. Nowadays a big part of the devices we interact with are connected and constantly generating and sharing information. Another fact is that all the others will also be connected in a near future. While such innovation changed and shaped our lives, the extent of the consequences are not fully understood by the majority of its users. People have unknowingly and most probably involuntarily gave up on their privacy and individuality.
At Nikkō we believe that technology and data are great and have the capability to improve and make our lives easier. Nevertheless, we also believe that each and everyone is entitled to his or her privacy and own uniqueness. We believe that people should only share what they want and with whom they want. With that in mind, our commitment is to ensure our customers’ data is personal and not shared unless by them on their own free will.
We are still in the early days of this technological journey and there is no doubt that data will provide us with incredible knowledge and insights, when refined to fulfil that matter. There are opportunities to come that at the moment seem impossible for our contemporary reality. Despite all possible achievements, the most important thing to keep in mind is to ensure full transparency about data collection and further use.