The motivation for this research is to investigate the design and use of ubiquitous technology and to consider the feasibility and practicality of carrying and using a smart device in the form of ‘message bag’, in order to reduce stress levels associated with forgetfulness. This leading on to determine the suitability of the bag with embedded technology for use in our everyday lives.

The objective of this research is to develop a comprehensive understanding of how respondents are using Message Bag, to use that information as a basis for a framework that is suitable for further research into alleviating those symptoms of stress and negative emotions experienced when forgetfulness happens.

This research will look to create a series of prototypes (a bag, backpack or purse style item that would be carried with an individual as they would carry their bag normally) to establish if using this object in a natural way can help them to remember things they would typically forget, or to forget them less often so they start to reduce the cumulative effect of stress from forgetting.

Initially investigations will look at a bag+individual user as a distributed cognitive system, this would spread the cognitive load from user to the bag. Alternatively, future prototypes could incorporate a bag that could house communication from many individuals, making a one-to-many model of use, where there are several users communicating to one bag, which is specifically for one user. This distribution of information could mean that the cognitive load is relieved a little and they become less forgetful.

Leading on from there, I want to look at their perception of their forgetfulness before using the bag, and afterwards – over a period of time, as well as their emotional / psychological states in the same period. Prototypes will have several iterations from quick mock-ups to more polished pieces.  This would be the initial tech solution, that is tested and then the appropriate comparison object is created. The overall aim is to find the most effective smart technology configuration that can be used over time and will have the effect of them feeling less forgetful.

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Interested in participating in an experiment or have any ideas?  I’m currently looking for volunteers who would be interested in trialling a Message Bag prototype for me, tell me what you think, what you liked or didn’t like, I want to hear it all.

Does forgetfulness in anyway affect your day to day life? This could be anything from having to make endless lists to waking up earlier to be sure you don’t forget what you need for your day!

Email me christine.farion@qmul.ac.uk

(Queen Mary University of London, Research Ethics Application No. QMREC1159)
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