Angl° - Sound Design for Posture Awareness

During sports workouts sound is widely used to boost the workout experience by motivating people to follow the beat and the mood of the music, however, the audio interaction only provides a one way communication. Choosing music with the wrong BPM could result in improperly high or low training intensity which can lead to poor posture and injuries. Instead of music playback, our intent was to let body movement, heart rate and tempo generate personal soundscapes which would create a unique experience every time. The soundscapes and the user’s behavior affect each other mutually. It is a feedback loop which makes athletes more comfortable and confident in training.

In 2014 this project was awarded both the Core77 Design Awards Notable in Interaction Design and Soft Goods.

3 Weeks - Group Project
Skills - Sound Design, Storytelling, After Effects

Team  - Júlia Nacsa, Qian Yedan, Joakim Bergbom

Final Product

Within this exploratory design project we found out that sound is an effective modality for giving real-time training feedback, without distracting the user. The device makes valuable information about tempo and posture available instantly, as opposed to something that would be noticed only after the workout, when it might be too late to avoid the injury. The generated soundscapes act as a mirror of the user's body movements. The device makes a conditional relationship between behavior and feedback by mentally linking incorrect posture to a dissonant sound, which builds up the user's confidence to recognize how to keep a good posture and tempo while exercising. Through an enriched experience, Angl° aims to motivate more and more people to engage in recreational sports activities in a safe and accessible way.

Sound Design

We developed a working prototype which used a stretch sensor detect how far apart a persons shoulder blades are, this served as our primary source of measurement for the athlete's posture and workout intensity. Here is a test video to judge how users reacted to different sound quality. 

Excluding watching yourself in a ballet studio mirror, it is exceptionally difficult to know and maintain a good posture at all times when doing sports. Here, we explored the possibility of using sound to unobtrusively inform the users of their body posture and exercise intensity as they are actively conducting their workout.

Process - Form

After establishing a measuring technique that would provide real time feedback, we next set out to create a form to house the sensors. Initial concepts involved a much more harness like contraption, similar to our mock up. However user feedback led us to creating a much more unified product, that could be completely housed within the form of a workout shirt. 



The device was cut and engraved onto nylon fabric placed in our shop's laser cutter. This allowed us to create intricate patterns on the surface of the fabric.