Swelli: Personal Robot on Your Wrist

In-class Project, ID414 Design Studio, 2016 Spring, 2017 Fall.
Advisor: Andrea Bianchi.


In recent years, a variety of smart bands from Fitbit Flex to Apple Watch and Samsung Gear S have become familiar in our daily lives. They use several sensors to collect, analyze users’ health-related data such as step counts and pulse rate of each user, and provide valuable information to users for improving their lives. Also, smart bands take a position of the center of IoT platforms and interact with users through various applications such as messaging apps or social media apps. Recently, smart bands have equipped touch screens to run those applications, take users’ inputs, and provide various outputs. In this project named Swelli, alternative ways of interactions were explored for better interactivity.

Swelli is a personal robot on a person’s wrist. Unlike existing smart bands, Swelli uses physical motions, not touch screens in interacting with users. By using tangible interactions, Swelli can deliver more intensive messages to users and also can be a unique input device. In this graduation project, I built a working prototype and explored some possible scenarios with various movements and shapes of Swelli. For example, Swelli can alert a user has not moved for a while and should walk or move around for the health like weight control by swelling its body like a balloon. Besides, Swelli can be a control device such as a light switch with changing its body shape like the switch, and users can turn on or off the room’s light by pushing Swelli’s body. In short, as a personal robot, Swelli will improve users’ daily lives in diverse ways.

Possible Scenarios

In this graduation project, I explored possible scenarios by driving various changes with the working prototype and revealed the potential of Swelli. Below scenarios are representative examples of how Swelli can be applied in our daily lives.

Healthcare Partner
In many devices that can detect users’ wrong posture and tell to change the posture, using a vibration motor is a common way to alert users. Although many users react to the notification at first, people tend to ignore the sign and feel it is cumbersome after a few days or weeks. However, Swelli may be a long-lasting partner in healthcare of users by providing physical movements of its body. For example, when users stay with the same posture such as sitting on a chair for a long time, Swelli can twist its body like badgering to let users know that they should move or walk around.

Smarthome Controller
Internet of Things (IoT) become a common thing in our daily lives. And this technology has been installed in many houses in these days. Many smartphone applications have come out for controlling IoT home devices such as Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs and Nest Thermostat. Swelli can be a physical controller such as light bulb switches that can tangibly interact with users. It changes its shape when users move to a certain location, where users set and link Swelli to IoT devices.

Mini Dancer
In these days, social pressure and other stresses that people are exposed to are a lot heavier than before. We need relaxation to reduce the stresses. Swelli may help people to enjoy music more dramatically and actively by moving its body to the music that users listen to. Users can feel that the product is dancing, appreciate its wavy movements similar to sound waves, and be relaxed. Also, Swelli can be a music controller that allows users to navigate to the next or previous music.


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