In order to discover how to best incorporate EMS as a user interface, we discussed questions such as:
- Where on the body could we place electrodes?
- What muscles would it actuate?
- In what scenarios would actuating user movement be necessary or important?
- Why would a user want force feedback and how would they benefit from it?
In general, we wanted to avoid placing electrodes on opposite sides of the body (e.g. one on each arm)
because we did not want an electric current running through the heart. We also wanted to avoid
places on the body that would be more intimate or too difficult to access such as the chest, stomach,
thigh, or back. Limbs are generally considered safe places for the user.
We experimented with different muscle groups to see what motions we could trigger. We also briefly considered
electrode placement on the neck but thought it best to avoid it for now.
We also discussed the scenarios in which a user might benefit from movement and several topics including
exercise, muscle memory, and repetition came up. Through our literature review, we found that people
generally associate movement with better memory and retention of learned material. We wanted to capitalize
on this finding and see how we could incorporate movement into various forms of learning.
As we continued brainstorming, we talked about having users "feel" various concepts in learning physics.
We discussed how to incorporate a haptic component to learning things like Newton's Laws, mechanics equations,
and magnetism. From that point, we converged on an idea of feeling interactions which ultimately led us to an
idea involving learning chemistry.
We wanted to build a system for students learning chemistry (i.e. middle shool or high school students) that
would allow them to augment their learning with the use of force feedback.