Software Development for a Wearable Device

Software development, branding, digital design and industrial design for a wearable device that aids social networking: Alike “Wearable Technology”

Discipline: Software Development, Digital Design, Graphic Design, Industrial Design
Client: Marcelo Coelho Studios
Sector: Entertainment Electronics
Creative Director: Marcelo Coelho
Collaborators: Alan Argondizza, Joanna Tam
Location: Cambridge Massachusetts
Date: February 2015

Marcelo Coelho is a Brazilian/American computation designer working on objects, installations, and live experiences. His studio creates work spanning a wide range of media, processes, and scales, his work explores the boundaries between matter and information, fundamentally expanding and enhancing how we interact and communicate. Marcelo is also a Lecturer at the MIT Department of Architecture and Head of Design at Formlabs. Before his practice, he received a Doctorate in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab.Alike is a bluetooth-enabled wearable device that looks similar to a smart watch. It allows you to discover and connect with new friends in person and without the distractions of a phone or computer screen. Each Alike device holds a unique user profile. When two people come into proximity of each other, their devices exchange information and glow to indicate if they are a match. After the event, each person receives a list of their newly made connections. My task was to help develop this product as a designer and a software developer.

Using Java and Processing, I helped the lead engineer, Alan Argondizza, to program the software that helps two devices communicate and find matches; a program that enables users to program their devices with their user profile at the start of each event; and a program that can orchestrate a lightshow among all the people who are wearing the device, by lighting up synchronized colors of LEDs in each device.

Marcelo designed the brand and majority of the interfaces. I helped him refine the details and fill the gaps. I made the interfaces look pixel-perfect. I also helped build a website and brand the device. I debugged the programs and designed the product website on Webflow. I helped 3D print device enclosures, and sanded them to make the surfaces smooth. I wrote a Google Chrome app that is connected to a cloud database which used a cloud service called Parse to store the device data. I also created app prototypes and conducted real-life user testing. Last but not least I helped edit a generative design program. This program created custom shapes to be 3D printed on the device enclosures.