Get a Grip on Stress with Grippy! A Field Study to Understand Human-Wearable Partnerships in Stress Management
Xueliang Sean Li, Marco C. Rozendaal, Eric Vermetten, Kaspar Jansen, Catholijn Jonker


Smart wearables are increasingly used to help people deal with stress. Still, a less explored area of research in this field concerns the partnerships that smart wearables can take on when engaging people in stress-coping activities. To facilitate further understanding of the human-wearable partnerships, we designed Grippy, a smart wearable system composed of a physical glove and a smartphone application to help the wearer actively explore and cope with stress in daily situations. We introduced Grippy, as a speculative probe, to six participants (four master students and two university employees) who wore it for five successive days. Participants were interviewed about their use experience of Grippy during and after these five days. Qualitative data collected from the interviews was interpreted regarding how Grippy could fit into people’s stress-coping activities across different daily contexts and what kinds of partnerships with the smart wearable were perceived by the participants. In addition, we reflect on the design issues that led to the mismatch between our design intentions and people’s actual use experiences. We discuss how these results have deepened our understanding of human-wearable partnerships in the context of stress management and the usability issues that might hinder the expression and acceptance of smart wearables designed as partners. We end the discussion by reflecting on the implications of smart wearables as partners in mental healthcare.

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