Bio-wearable Technology and Children

Purpose: Create a set of cards to promote critical thinking during an online maker workshop for kids

Role: Research Assistant

Timeline: 12 month paid grant position 

Skills: Technical  composition, professional research study

Tools: Figma, Sketch, java, C++


The Tangible Embodied Child-Interaction (TECI) Lab at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C, Canada focuses on conducting design-oriented research and train the next generation of researchers to design, build and evaluate technical innovations that improve, augment, and support children’s cognitive and emotional development.


Research Focus

Critical Reflection is…

an extension of “critical thinking”, It asks us to think about our practice and ideas and then it challenges us to step-back and examine our thinking by asking questions

Biowearables are…

Technological devices created to collect and sometimes analyze biological data from a persons body. Can be an item of clothing or an accessory (e.g Apple Watch, FITBIT) that is a type of electronic technology

The Study

I was a part of a team that focused on how youth interact with biowearable technology and the potential effects it has on their psychological and physiological health.

From our research we investigated how to support youth to understand and explore ethical issues grounded in the processes of prototyping during an after school online critical making workshop.

The Workshop

The workshop was a 2 week intensive process where we created a partially assembled kit that included a motorized pinwheel with an light panel in a box and a bluetooth connected breathing sensor that the participants had to build while simultaneously reflecting on the decisions they made when creating it.
The Kit

In order for the workshop to work we created a partially built kit for the workshop participants to put together. This consisted of parts to build a pinwheel and LED set, an assembled breathing sensor, the structure of a kid-friendly program software called MakeCode and reflection cards, which was my role.

The Reflection Cards

The reflection cards highlighted 6 ethical issues we established that have questions that go along with the making of the kit.
The Process
Each set of six cards that I designed were carefully thought through from content to icons to layout. I wanted the design to be clear and concise, as well as easily understood by the target audience. 


I started with creating several mockups of how the content should be laid out so that I could plan out where the text and  icons should go.

The Iterations 
After several considerations in the sketch medium I created digital mockups of what the cards could look like and chose different colours that would match with the cards. I started with greyscale to figure out where the different elements in the card would go, such as the images and text, and then 

I wanted to make each card a different colour because I found that this was would be the easiest way to identify each one. I also wanted to choose relatively gender neutral colours as not to create bias when the participant was choosing which card to reflect upon. 
Initial Design

After integrating the content into the cards the team and I decided to use this design for the pilot study. 

The Icons chosen each represent a different critical reflection topic reflected in a simple graphic that to uses the different colours to match each card. We ended up deciding to make two double sided cards instead of one because there was a lot of content to get through, where the first card is more general and the second is specific to the workshop.

The Challenges

Some challenges faced were after we conducted the pilot study using these cards, we found that some of the participants were not as receptive to the cards as we had thought, so we decided to redesign some of the elements within them.

I made revisions to the cards by getting feedback from the team and evaluating what needed to change in terms of the layout and titles on each card.

We ended up adding in more descriptive footers and headers and clearly numbering the cards so that it would make it more clear of which should be reflected on first and what the central focus was.

The Final Result

Click the arrows to go through the final result of the cards 

If you want a more in-depth understanding of the cards and study you can read my published paper