INFO17198 Project 1: Future Interface

PROJECT BRIEF: The future interface project gives you the opportunity of exploring interfaces without having to concern yourself with the coding side of project or trying to source how to actually create the interface. Instead, the project is to be a video mock up of a not yet available interface. The interface will make use of filming a subject using the interface in their environment.

PHASE ONE: Identify the data in the UI, where this data will be sourced and how this will be interacted with via the user. Provide a list of possible locations for filming through images. Provide a brief overview/synopsis of the story (min. 500 words – max. 1000 words).

SYNOPSIS

Our lives are centered around one small piece of technology that has changed the way that we perform daily tasks – the modern-day cellphone. From Apple’s iPhone X and Samsung’s S series to LG’s G series and Google’s Pixel phones, they are everywhere that we look and constantly being updated to meet the standards that users have for them. It’s quite common to see people on their phones in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, rather than reading magazines, or to see someone walking down the street with headphones in and listening to music.

As much as phones can be useful, there are many issues that still hinder our daily lives. If you lose your phone, you begin the frantic searching to find where it could be. Dropping it on the floor could lead to a broken screen, which now means that you have to send it in to get it repaired or buy a new one. Our phones have to be on us at all times, but how many times has your phone fallen out of your pocket or been shoved into the bottom of your bag where you can’t find it? We only have two hands to use and most often, one of those hands is occupied by a phone.

VIA, an upcoming tech company, has come up with a solution that will make using your phone much easier without needing it to be on you at all times. Meet what is called VIA Gear, a chip implantation into the forearm that will allow a user to interact with their phone without needing to hold the device in their hand. From answering calls and sending text messages, to connecting headphones and listening to music while working out, to using voice recognition to set reminders and initiate voice commands, VIA Gear can do it all. A holographic display will show up on your arm like a screen and can be interacted with, due to the complexity of the chip’s intelligence and design.

The VIA Gear chip is easy to set up and work with. VIA works with near-field communications (NFC) technology, which can be activated on a user’s phone and will connect to the chip implant. Once connected, the chip will glow to let the user know that it has been connected to the chosen device and the holographic forearm display will become visible. Any device can be connected to the chip, as long at it has the NFC option. Both Android devices and iPhone devices are compatible with VIA Gear. To wake the interface, simply slide two fingers across your forearm and the display will come to life. Notifications and incoming calls will be displayed on the user’s forearm, in addition to making a sound or creating a slight vibration (sound settings can be adjusted to fit the user’s preferences).

In order to access features, such as playing music and answering phone calls, users are able to connect wireless Bluetooth headphones to their VIA Gear chip implant. In order to form this connection, the headphones must be connected to a phone via Bluetooth, which will automatically connect to the chip. Volume can be adjusted manually through the headphone’s settings, in addition to using the holographic display volume settings. Although VIA Gear acts as an extension of your phone, it will not connect to any other types of wireless Bluetooth devices, such as speakers or in-car features – only headphones.

The VIA Gear is also able to work with voice recognition. Many of our phones have a virtual assistant that is activated by a catchphrase, such as Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant. These types of virtual assistants are useful because they can perform tasks based on a vocal command without a user needing to manually do it. VIA’s chip is able to access virtual assistants on phones using the same catchphrases, as well as do things like set alarms, send text messages, call someone from the contacts list and perform Internet searches. If your virtual assistant has been set up to recognize your voice and requires this form of security verification, the VIA Gear chip will make sure that it doesn’t correspond to anyone else’s voice but yours.

VIA GEAR CONCEPT

The inspiration for the concept and design came from the following images:

In most of these examples, the holographic display is projected onto the arm through a piece of wearable tech, such as a watch or an arm band. The top three photos are working versions of what is called the Cicret Band, which is a real-life piece of technology that has a small projector on the bottom on the wristband. For my design, I plan to eliminate the idea of there being any wearable tech, but instead to work with chip implants that would be tactically hidden in a way that wouldn’t get in the way of daily activities of a user.

The UI design is what I imagine to be modern and simple, yet complex enough to provide enough options for the user. Personally, I enjoy interfaces that are white and have no colour, but I think that it would be more appropriate to include colour in order to maintain the idea of the VIA Gear chip being an extension of a user’s phone.

The following images are example of modern and simplistic conceptual designs that I think would look good on the interface:

POSSIBLE SHOOTING LOCATIONS

In order to properly display the VIA Gear’s features, the actors must be put in various locations and situations that would require the usage of the chip. This way, if a potential user were to see this video as an advertisement for the VIA Gear, they would be able gain a better understanding of it through visual context.

Examples of possible shooting locations include:

  • Fitness studio – user doing a workout and wanting to change their song.
  • Classroom or bedroom – user doing homework or reading, and receiving a text message or call.
  • Kitchen – user cooking food and setting a reminder to go grocery shopping.
  • Living room – user watching a movie and wanting to check the time.

BRAINSTORMING AND INSPIRATION

The reason that I chose to design an interface related to this issue was because of my experiences as an athlete and someone who exercises daily. I like to workout with music, but I can’t exactly go blasting my music without annoying everyone in the gym, so I rely on headphones. I don’t have Bluetooth headphones either, so the wires of regular headphones can sometimes be a hassle. Receiving notifications and constantly having to check my phone can also disrupt a workout, which means that I don’t get to properly focus on what I’m doing. There are what we would call “first-world problems”, but the reality is that as phones become a necessity that we require in order to go through with our daily lives, there has to be a way to manage activities on our phones while doing other tasks. By having a chip that connects to a user’s phone and can be connected to certain Bluetooth devices, we would no longer need to worry about physically needing our phones. Instead, everything can be done from our arms.

There are some issues that could come along with the creation of such a device. The idea of a technological chip being implanted into the forearm could lead to potential health risks, especially for users that are not aware of how it could affect them. Many people are still hesitant about electronic implants in their bodies and it would take some time to convince users that this is something worth looking into. In order to persuade consumers, it would be necessary to have medical examinations and approvals for the VIA Gear chip to ensure that it is safe.