Research Design Demos


We wanted to create an application that would allow a parent to comfortably track his/her child from a distance without adding significant stress to their lives. We want parents to feel in control while also feeling that they are allowing their child to be independent. The app allows for for tracking of relevant statistics relating to asthma that can be used to deduce causes and to present reliable information to doctors. Since this portion of the functionality has been recreated in other iPhone applications, we chose not to focus on this portion of the interaction. The special part of our design in the additional bracelet that comes with the app. This bracelet is placed on the child and will not only send back information about the environment to the parent's iPhone but will also track relevant health statistics such as oxygen saturation, heart rate and peak flow. This bracelet is also used for communication with the child.

We focused our efforts on creating a way for the parents to track their child that would be relatively unobtrusive to both parties. We needed to create an application that could earn the trust of the parents. If a mom is checking her child's vital stats every 5 minutes then she is more stressed than she needs to be and we haven't done our job. For this reason, Appsthma allows parents to customize their own thresholds and when these thresholds are crossed the parent is a sent a notification. When notified, parents are given the option to look at more information or immediately call their child through the intercom bracelet. While this voice communication is the most intrusive aspect of the interaction from the child's point of view, we felt it was integral to the parent feeling in control. The opportunity to insert your voice into the situation allows parents to speak and instruct their child through asthma attacks but also allows them to communicate with nearby adults to ensure proper care is taken.

The child may see the bracelet as an unwanted attachment to their parent, but it is hard to argue that this is more constraining than having a parent who is not comfortable allowing their child out of their sight. Efforts have still been made to appeal to the child as bracelets are created with themes relating to things that all children think is cool such as Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. With the exception of the peak flow measurement, all data is obtained and relayed to the parent without bothering or notifying the child. Other than emergency notification the parent can also easily check in on the vital statistics of their child and the environment. We have deliberately constructed this interface to allow parents to rapidly obtain information and also in a way that will not overly stress the parent.

BID 2010 . Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University