Sara Behbakht

Nov 5, 2020

4 min read

Movement for a MIRROR

This week I decided to challenge myself to work with an already existing technology to create a gestural language for their product. I have always been fascinated by the MIRROR.

Design

User: Adults who work out at home/ own a MIRROR

Purpose: To provide a flexible in-home workout solution that seamlessly blends into the interior decoration of a person’s living room

MIRROR is an elegant, interactive workout mirror that supports users in being active in their own homes. This product offers a variety of workouts and personalized instruction to each user. Users can also track heart rate by synching their heart rate monitor or via MIRRORs predictive algorithm. Users can invite friends to workout with them and also take mirror selfies using the app.

MIRROR has the potential to revolutionize the exercise industry, however, the mirror requires an application to access the functionality of the product. I think if this product could be operated solely on gestures it would be even more powerful and novel.

My challenge this week is to ideate gestures for the MIRROR workout device and assess the feasibility of using gestures to interact with the MIRROR.

Prototyping

To create a set of gestures for the MIRROR I watched a lot of demonstration videos of people using it. I also reviewed screenshots of the MIRROR application.

Although I wish I had a MIRROR to experiment with, analyzing demo videos and analyzing the application will allow me to understand the experience to the best of my ability.

To prototype, I cleared a space in my room and stood in front of my mirror in and worked through a free workout on youtube that is similar to a MIRROR workout . This process got me familiar with the type of gestures that would be used during workouts so I wouldn’t replicate them in the gestures for control.

The testing environment

After analyzing the workout motions, and looking at the application I decided to prototype for these three actions: Turn on MIRROR, Pause workout, and Quit workout. These features are core to the functionality of the MIRROR and currently are limited to touching the product or using the application.

Turn on MIRROR

This gesture allows users to turn on the mirror by waving across their body facing the mirror. This mimics a welcoming gesture and allows easy transition between the inactive and active state of the product.

Pause workout

When I did the experimental workout, I found myself having to pause it on my phone with sweaty fingers. A MIRROR user would either have to pause it on their phone or walk up to the MIRROR to pause the workout. With a simple stop gesture with the palm facing towards the MIRROR the workout will pause.

I chose to prototype pause and quit because they are both panic motions and could be used to support the safety of the user or signal distress. To exit a workout the user makes an “X” shape with their arms and the MIRROR closes out of the workout. All progress is saved and the user can restart this workout at anytime.

Analysis

From the testing that I have done, I feel like movement prototyping was very challenging and I struggled a lot this week. It felt like I wasn’t really making anything, and my movements weren’t complete enough or relevant to the product.

I got frustrated because I couldn’t access the application without purchasing the MIRROR and had very little information to work off of. I also was unsure how to generate different gestures, and felt very weird standing in front of a mirror gesturing to myself.

I also would like to acknowledge that the gestures I created are an incomplete arc, especially the two emergency gestures. I haven't created the unpause or start workout functions due to lack of time and emotional capacity to do work with the current state of the election, but I plan to iterate on these gestures in the future.

One thing that worked well was the design of MIRROR, I think this product is brilliant, and I hope to work with it more in the future. As I mentioned before, a product where people are already moving and understand a sort of gestural workout language would allow easy integration of gestural controls.

One thing that did not work well was my lack of understanding of gestural prototyping and lack of confidence in my abilities. I also wish I had access to the actual product and other people to test with. I attempted to work with my roommates, however they weren’t particularly enthused by this idea and also were kind of confused. I’m sure this was partially due to my own lack of confidence in this process, but also I could have scaffolded their participation more. Due to the overall confusion and less than pleased response from my roommates, I prototyped and tested the movement prototype myself. The preparation, environment, and results were not ideal. However, I look forward to continuing to work with movement prototyping and improve throughout the rest of my career.

Video

https://youtu.be/Ibtk8BvmL18