MyHolo AR Goggles
MyHolo is a pair of augmented reality smart goggles designed for those who enjoy ocean activities such as snorkeling, scuba-diving, and surfing. Many swimmers and snorkelers often worry about getting lost or not recognizing directions when are out at sea. MyHolo provides AR display along with underwater GPS navigation to remove distractions, set up boundaries, and redirect users in order to remain safe within enclosed waters.
Human-Centered Design, User Research, Visual Design, UIUX
11 weeks (2020)
Coastal waters around the world are dangerous for several reasons: tides, currents, and animal attacks. Those who venture too far off will have no guarantee of safety making it back to shore. The goal of this project is to explore ways to help increase the survivability and safeness of those who decide to take the chance to journey into the underwater world.
We spent the entire fall quarter (11 weeks) brainstorming, ideating, researching, interviewing, and sketching the concept for MyHolo – smart goggles that is used as a GPS navigational system for underwater activities incorporated with safety features.
To learn more about the users in the field, I used secondary resources to better understand their preferences, demands, habits, motivations, and difficulties.
Some research questions that I wanted to find were:
What are people most worried about when scuba diving or having outdoor activities at sea?
How often do swimmers get lost or have a fear of being lost at sea?
How do swimmers and snorkelers usually navigate during ocean activities?
What are the safety features that should be implemented?
The market currently does not have waterproof GPS smart goggles, existing alternatives or substitutions to MyHolo includes:
OnCourse a pair of goggles that utilizes a 3D electronic compass that analyzes swimming direction to help reduce sighting.
Aqua Lung is a compass that is waterproof and includes a clip-on wristband mount that is handy while exploring underwater.
Form Smart Goggles delivers smart display metrics like split times and distance as users swim, also includes bluetooth pairing with smartphones.
However . . .
These products don't have smart detection features to prevent swimmers from hazardous accidents. Underwater compasses may be confusing to read and swimmers could potentially misread directions. If swimmers were to need emergency help, they have no way of contacting lifeguards. Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a standard navigation system for snorkelers and scuba divers to not get lost other than using a buddy system, compass, and other tactics to stay safe.
Next, I conducted interviews and analyzed 32 participants through Google Surveys to understand what swimmers think and how they feel about their experiences. I narrowed them into 4 key insights:
1. What are people most worried about when scuba diving or having outdoor activities at sea?
In the ocean, an environment most people don’t know much about, it can be scary to lose control due to high waves. I am also worried about getting lost at sea or even getting injured alone. I enjoy exploring deep waters it would be best to be alerted when dangerous sea animals are near me or when I should withdraw from a certain area. "
2. How often do swimmers get lost or have a fear of being lost at sea?
The five most common ocean anxieties is the fear of being lost at sea. These fears are driven by those who encountered a past traumatic experience in the ocean, it is also fairly common for ocean beginners."
3. How do swimmers and snorkelers usually navigate during ocean activities?
When I'm swimming or snorkeling, I typically used the buddy system with my friends so I won't get lost. If I diving alone, I always bring a compass, surface marker buoy, and rope pulls. While the surface marker buoy floats above water, I can then attach rope pulls to it, when I'm done diving I slowly reel back to my previous designation."
4. What are the safety features that should be implemented?
Some helpful features I recommend is to incorporate directional tracking on a viewable map along with the water wave conditions displayed at all times. Having an emergency button for lifeguard help would make me feel more safe."
Meet the User
James Holton lives in Southern California. He works as a junior photographer for the National Geographic. On weekends, he spends hours at Huntington Beach scuba diving with his co-workers to capture scenic underwater views. Since he is quite new at scuba diving, he is afraid to dive in the deeper waters because he is terrified of being attacked by sea creatures due to a past traumatic experience. He wants to get over his fears and feel safer while scuba diving so he can fully enjoy his experience.
Wanting to feel more safe scuba diving
Diving even deeper to capture better views
More efficient way of navigating back
Before I started creating the wireframes, I sketched out initial core screens that show navigation features that users would interact with, we also kept these goals in mind when brainstorming:
Users want to feel safer during the entire course of any underwater activity.
Beginners can learn any ocean activity safely in optimal conditions.
Users can follow navigation at ease back to the original destination.
Create a relaxing experience without the concern of getting injured or lost.
Low-fidelity wireframes were created in Figma and used to lay out the user flow of the interactions.
Guerrilla Usability Testing
The next step was conduct a usability testing on the design and based on user feedback I would create a new iteration to polish towards the final prototype. The goal of this round of testing was to have users comment on the application itself and how it works. 5 people were given a set of user tasks to test out the efficiency and usability. They also had the opportunity to critique the interface design, in hopes of providing feedback to make a revised iteration.
You want to set up your name and enter a destination location. Figure out how to set up the location you want to navigate back.
You want to know where you are heading on the image view map. Check your location to see where you're headed.
You just finished exploring the ocean and want to head back. Start the navigation back to your destination location.
Guerrilla Usability Results
Evaluation and Iteration
Participants were asked to note any parts that were confusing and what improvements should be made. Participants mainly had issues remembering the functions of each button on the goggles. One participant in particular also suggested a way to re-enter his name because it was inputted incorrectly. One major change is adding a tutorial as part of the onboarding screen to educate users how to use the features and where the buttons are located.
Users also suggested the text at the bottom left that indicates for emergency help was too distracting. We decided to redesign the logo and remove the text.
For my color palette, I was inspired by the colors from Laguna Beach located in California. Laguna Beach is famous for its beautiful clear beaches and bohemian chic vibes. The soothing cool color tones emit a sense of calmness and comfort, which represents how swimmers should feel during underwater activities whether it's scuba diving, swimming, or any other ocean activity. Having a clean and minimalistic interface is what I strived to achieve.
Ethical considerations that are important to reassess for our product is the right to privacy protection and obtaining informed consent.
The main risk or concern that many users may have is the right to their personal privacy because MyHolo will require GPS tracking that locates their whereabouts at all times. This confidential information can bring societal issues over data ownership and the uncomfortable reality of being monitored at all times. Data ownership in particular may raise questions as to who is in charge of this information, who is allowed to access these services and track down a user’s location, since our product also incorporates an emergency feature which allows the lifeguard to come help users who are in danger, location tracking must be permitted at all times.
The benefits of these goggles outweigh the risks because they are only used as an alternative for users that require GPS tracking in order to remain safe during ocean activities. The benefits promote the least amount of hardships and suffering and this innovation would do more good than harm because it is able to satisfy as an extensive need.
Technical Requirements and Constraints
MyHolo relies on a few technical requirements in order for it to function. The technology should be high-quality and up-to-date integrated with waterproof components such as printed and flexible electronics.
Such requirements create constraints because current technology for AR applications have not been advanced and fine-tuned enough; submerged technologies are a major challenge for technical systems. The components also need to be robust enough to withstand the high additional pressure of increasing diving depth.
AR system and GPS navigation system requires consistent regulation in order for the goggles to register each location and configure practical routes. Underwater navigation systems are not as developed as traditional GPS systems, hence the accuracy of both the mapping directions and positioning of AR elements in relation to the environment are both in its rudimentary form.
Things I learned
This project was my first AR project and it was very exciting to create. I learned that usability tests are crucial when it comes to developing a new product and incorporating user feedback to produce new iterations. I practiced new approaches on how to design for 360 world, as well as handling the constraints of an emerging platform. I believe designers should dive into working on AR or VR projects more often to exercise designing on alternative interactions, analyzing specific behavioral patterns, and exploring the endless possibilities of a 3D interface.
In the future, MyHolo will include a mobile app connectable through Bluetooth for phones. This mobile app can enhance user experience by showing new features such as past location, history, distance travelled, video recordings, image captures, and locating users nearby. These enhancements will broaden the scope of MyHolo’s goal and provide more functionality than a GPS tracking navigational system. With these new features, users can use these smart AR goggles as a tool to improve experiences.