The research area of “Ambient Assisted Living” in Human-Computer Interaction deals with ways to support elderly people to live independently in their own homes through the help of technology. Part of this is the design of assistive systems that can remind the user (for example to take their medication) or notify them of events.  The aim of ambient notification is to operate outside the user’s primary focus and on the periphery of their attention, to be as unobtrusive as possible.

In the context of the research project “DAAN”, we developed mobile accessories for ambient notification in the shape of three different shawls. The shawls display three distinct output modalities and can be adapted to the individual user. The thermohaptic shawl has the ability to send heat signals to its wearer – by heating segments of steel yarn embedded in a double face knit – allowing for a private, intimate and silent notification. A second model has additional printed stripes of thermochromic pigments that change color to notify the user. The fiber optic light shawl has integrated optical fibers that distribute the light from a small LED into the knitted fabric. It ambiently lights up in different light patterns.

DAAN is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Partners: DFKI GmbH, Deutsche Telekom AG, IXDS GmbH, Universität Stuttgart, Intuitity Media Lab

Integrated steel yarn in double face knit for thermohaptic notification

Fiber optic light shawl