Beyond SmartPhones: the Internet of Things, Next Digital

2016-2017 Theme 1

Beyond Smartphones, Emerging Stretchable/Flexible Wearables Exploration in the Era of the Internet of Things, Augmented/Virtual Reality, and Data Mining

(Making the virtual feel real)

The Virtual Reality experience is limited by its unintuitive control and ineffectiveness in targeting senses besides sight. Haptic feedback can solve these issues by intuitively providing more information to the user, allowing them to explore virtual worlds in a completely new level of immersion.

Our project, in collaboration with Samsung, originated from creating a wearable leveraging emerging flexible electronic technologies to somehow enhance the Virtual Reality experience. After extensive design research, the idea that we decided to develop is a glove with an array of sensors and actuators to haptic feedback for VR users to feel virtual objects and boundaries.

Our current stage is technological research and prototyping to understand the capabilities of haptic actuators to develop artificial perception of texture and to generate a human-computer interaction “haptic language.” We aim to allow users to cognitively understand when they are touching a virtual object or surface. Based on our design and technological roadmap, we predict that this type of technology will be one of the future breakthroughs that will revolutionize the way people immerse in virtual environments.

2016-2017 Theme 2

Beyond Smartphones, Emerging Stretchable/Flexible Wearables Exploration in the Era of the Internet of Things, Augmented/Virtual Reality, and Data Mining

(Fitbit for Embryo)

Our vision is to “create a stretchable wearable device for pregnant mothers to monitor their baby’s heart rate in the comfort of their homes”, which feeds real-time data to trained professionals for interpretation to provide women in early pregnancy with peace of mind and avoid specialized care visits during pregnancy.

Users Mothers Doctors
Primary Needs 1.Confirmation of Fetal Status

2.Safety of Device(Non-doppler)

3.Tracking Fetal Development

4.Doctor-Patient Communication

1.Safety of Device (Non-doppler)

2.Method for longitudinal analysis

3.Precision of data

Desired Features 1.Fetal Heart Rate Tracker

2.Kick Counter

3.Fetal Position Feedback

4.Form fitting, comfortable clothing

1.Heart Rate Fluctuation (ECG)

2.Amniotic Fluid Volume Approximation

3.Maternal Body Temperature

Desired Experience 1.Peace of mind on fetal safety

2.Memory Keeping

3.Social Sharing

4.Comfort during use

1.Reliable data tracking

2.More specialized and detailed patient monitoring

3.Ability to make more conclusive diagnoses

Sensing Method Ultrasonic (Doppler) Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Summary Emission of ultrasonic waves and the measurement of their reflections Measurement of the electrical activity of the heart through electrodes on the surface of the skin
Form Factor Two probes (emitter and receiver) Adhesive Ag/AgCl electrode array Textile electrode array
Typical Use Case Doctor’s office At home At home
Suitability for continuous monitoring No – safety of long-term exposure is inconclusive No – frequent replacement of electrodes Yes – washable, wearable
Comfortable for patient No – limited mobility during exam No – skin irritant because not breathable Yes – breathable, flexible

2015-2016 Theme

Human-Centered Design Research to Explore Disruptive Opportunities with Flexible/Stretchable Wearables in the Internet of Things

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Past Themes


IoT Research on Advanced UX Development Based on Innovative Technology: Integrating UX Design with the Internet of Things


Human-Centric User Research to Identify Disruptive Opportunities in Convergent Paper and Digital Use

Works from previous years

Internet of Things M.Eng. Team project 2014-2015.


<IoT Smart Office Environment; Interaction between users and systems>

What will the office of the future be like? Floating chairs and robot surrogates? Not anytime soon. The Smart Office that we envision uses Internet of Things technology to create an environment that responds to workers’ needs. Desks will automatically change from seated to standing mode when a worker gets sleepy, lights and sounds will respond to workers’ stress states, and computers will invite users to take breaks when they need them. We built prototypes based on user interviews and observations, tested them on users, and iterated to develop a vision that we are excited to share with you.



Samsungposter-12-13 Samsungposter-2
Next Digital Fung Leadership Team
at Midterm Poster Session
Next Digital Fung Leadership Capstone
Research Poster

NextDigital Project Website:

Problem Statement

Although digital devices have their own unique features that differentiate them from other tangible types of resources for reading, writing and sketching, a majority of people still prefers traditional paper media as it provides better user experiences in many aspects: readability, portability, ease of making annotations, shared reading, tactile sensory experiences, etc. Even people who have tablet PCs have to carry both their journals and tablet PCs as they haven’t found effective computer devices or software for this yet.

Human-Centric Research Questions

  1. What are the primary barriers that prevent users from switching from paper to digital media and devices? 
  2. What can we learn from the behaviors of different user groups: children, college students, and professionals, elderly/retired?
  3. What gestures do people exhibit with paper? How do these gestures and body postures differ when using digital media and devices? 
  4. How do people collaborate with peers while using paper media? How does this contrast with sharing digital media? What are hybrid digital-media behaviors? 
  5. What are the implications of special papers (e.g., stickers, post-its, and origami paper) for our different user groups? Do they have different purpose/needs of use?
  6. What is the potential for use in current consumer trends (e.g., journaling, scrap booking and 3D printing)?

Example Framework

2x2 matrix

Example Persona

Wannabe Wayne is an engineering college professor who keeps his
digital and tangible worlds somewhat separate, but really would like to be able to convert all of his current tangible media to digital. As one example, he keeps both a tangible design journal and a digital one. He would love to use his tablet computer to take all of his notes and create/ archive design sketches.

“I always take both my journal and a Tablet PC together. I tried to use
some applications on my device to get rid of my notes/journals. But haven’t found good features to substitute them.”

Obviously, the usage of digital devices is continuously growing year by year and people want to have better user experience from digital devices. You are able to identify barriers and opportunities for paper-like features based on various human-centered design methods and explore a new product concept driven by this project.


Next Digital Student Team
with 120 Concepts and Early Prototypes
Galaxy Ray Promo_ME110 Product Development Team
The Galaxy Ray was the final product concept for the student group focused on professionals. It is essentially the next evolution of the typical design journal. It combines the form and feel of paper media with the digital capabilities of today’s personal computers. Instead of bound paper pages, it utilizes detachable e-ink pages, which can also interconnect with one another. When connected to the journal either directly or through another page, they act as additional touch screen displays. When they are disconnected, they freeze and retain a snapshot of what was previously displayed on them. These capabilities cater to the collaborative and expressive needs of its users, ultimately allowing them to create for themselves an environment for design. A video link to a demonstration of the Galaxy Ray is available here.

Human-Centered Design Approaches

Human-centric research methods are highly aligned with the work we do; thus we expect that our project will result in a deep understanding of the human experience along the entire product journey associated with both digital device & traditional paper usage by;

  1. Performing competitive analysis(Secondary market research)
  2. Conducting Interviews and Observation (Professionals, Elderly, College students)
  3. Developing User scenarios, Conceptual Design and Early Prototypes
  4. Concept Testing of Top Concepts and Early Prototypes

Related Publications/References/Events/News

(M.Eng. Thesis papers)

  1. Alameddine, Nada. “Samsung IOT: Hardware Design in a Children’s Wearable Device.” Diss. UC Berkeley, 2016. Print.
  2. Cho, Hyunil. “User Experience Design for IoT Wearable Device: Concept Visualization in Iterative Design Process.” Diss. UC Berkeley, 2016. Print.
  3. Dehghani, Borna. “Samsung IoT: Wearable Product Development: Mechanical and Industrial Design, and 3D Modeling.” Diss. UC Berkeley, 2016. Print.
  4. Kim, Hyeji. “Samsung IoT Wearable Product Development Quantitative Analysis of User Experience Expectations on Wearables: Computerized Clustering and Scenario-based Conjoint.” Diss. UC Berkeley, 2016. Print.
  5. Tung, Jessie, “Design for Manufacturing of a Child-Friendly Wearable Project.” Diss. UC Berkeley, 2016. Print.
  6. Chinen, J. (2015). IoT and the Restorative Smart Office,” MEng Capstone report, UC Berkeley. (Prof. A.M. Agogino thesis advisor).
  7. Frese, W.J. (2015). “Design of a Bioreactive System for Emotionally Intelligent Internet of Things Environments,” MEng Capstone report, UC Berkeley. (Prof. A.M. Agogino thesis advisor).
  8. Hamstra, L.B. (2015). “Environmental Responses to Stress in the Office of the Future,” MEng Capstone report, UC Berkeley. (Prof. A.M. Agogino thesis advisor).
  9. Lim, D. (2015). Rapid Prototying in UX Design Research for the Internet of Things,” MEng Capstone report, UC Berkeley. (Prof. A.M. Agogino thesis advisor).
  10. Segovia, O. (2015). “Audio, IoT and the Advent of the Smart Office,” MEng Capstone report, UC Berkeley. (Prof. A.M. Agogino thesis advisor).