iSomatic: A Wearable that Listens to Your Body
Tangible Interaction Design, Prototyping
Sep 2018 - Present

Jessenia Aguilar-H
Prof. Orit Shaer

Interaction & Visual Design
User Research
App Development

2019 Weissman Foundry Fellowship

Exercising is not engaging for many people, especially when they have to maintain a high heart rate for long periods of time. People also want to reduce their heart beat, but struggle to because of high stress levels and anxiety. Music comes in hand due to its emotional and therapeutic effect. However, we usually only focus on the way the song makes us feel — never paying attention to the way the our body feels.

Furthermore, we were aware that the wearable market has been saturated with heartbeat technology and limited in aesthetics. We wanted to shift away from the over-reliance on heartbeat and obtrusive screen technologies by using our body temperature and making wearables fashionable.


Seamlessly integrate thin, flexible, fashionable materials and electronics directly to a user’s body for daily use

Bring more awareness and introspection for the body

Instigate creative expression of individuality through wearable technologies

Use music to establish a more concrete connection between the senses and ones body


iSomatic is a wearable intended to bring more awareness to our bodily state while using music as a representation as well as a form to manipulate these different states. We gather bodily data through wearable technology in which we aim to make the wearables as fashionable, non-intrusive, and modular as possible. The bodily data is then translated to the music selection to enhance the wearers experience with their body and their biofeedback activity at hand. We designed the wearable to display led lights providing a visual representation of the temperature for social activities as well as for aesthetic. iSomatic not only allows for an exploration of body data leaving the control to the body, but also allows the user to get conscious control again by adjusting whether they’d like to “warm” or “cool” music.

Implementation implementation

Design Process


Somaesthetic Experience

The intersection of soma, the body, and aesthetics, sensory appreciations triggers discussion about the meaning of our bodily experience and human intersubjectivity. We not only wanted to emphasize how our body becomes the source of aesthetic qualities for design, but also explore ways to increase our body awareness so we can “become more perceptive and aware in the physical world in which we live and act.”

Hot & Cold

We found the semantics of hot and cold evocative in our work. The words have a lexical relationship, acting as gradable pairs with no absolute scale. Hot and cold is used in many contexts including weather, physical sensations, emotional states, food, and even Marshall McLuhan’s media theory. We found the terms to be a parallel to how our body temperature works with music. Heat can be intimate and skin-close, while coolness can be less invasive than heat, but rather welcoming somatic response and triggering interrogations about our bodily experience.

Research Papers

Non-obtrusive design & Self-expression

"Most digital musical interfaces have been designed as objects separated from the body, often consisting of hard components such as plastic knobs. Rather than tackling this using wearable controllers that are attached to the body, we propose to design sonic controllers that work more closely to the body using garments incorporating electronic textile or e-textile." — Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction '18

Social Fabric Fitness

"SFF provides a glanceable, shared screen on the back of the wearer’s shirt to increase awareness and motivation of group fitness performance. Our qualitative findings indicate that SFF improves awareness of individual and group performance, helps groups stay together, and improves in-situ motivation." — Makeability Lab

Adaptability & Physiology

"Although clothing textiles continue to improve in their performance to expel or retain heat for comfort, and are becoming ”smarter” with embedded sensor technologies, our clothing are still not capable of determining the comfort of the user. People still need to actively put on or take off layers of clothing to regulate their comfort." — UbiComp/ISWC'15 Adjunct

User Research

Millennial Women persona card

To learn more about the user experience, we conducted surveys on sportswear and the most used wearable FitBit on our school students, who meet our checklist as our audience.

Visual Design

Modular design
Band design
Hardware design


Development Tools

Adafruit BlueFruit LE Connect, Apple Script Editor, Arduino Desktop IDE, Quicksilver, Spotify


Arduino FLORA, Arduino Flora BlueFruit, Arduino Flora NeoPixels, Lithium Ion Battery, Pulse Sensor Amped, through-hole resistor, Waterproof Digital temperature sensor

Fabrication Materials

conductive thread, dri-Fit fabric, ribbon, sewing machine, conductive tape, velcro



regular cloth, one LED, no sewing, 3V



dri-Fit cloth, four LED pixels, sewing, Arduino UNO, 5V, pulse sensor



dri-Fit cloth, five LED pixels, sewing, AdaFruit Flora, BlueFruit, 3V, pulse andvtemperature sensor

HCI Lab Open House & Weissman Foundry Fellowship

We had the opportunity to present our project to BOW (Babson, Olin, Wellesley) students, faculty members, and Harvard Business School professors. We also did a final presentation and demo session at the Foundry in front of judges.

Future Work

The aesthetic of the wearable is significant to this project because the self expression regarding wearable technology has been limited to jewelry or accessories. While these are areas we will still be exploring, we want to focus on modularity by expanding the wearable to other body parts including sports bras, chokers, socks, or leggings. Furthermore, we would be executing music from a larger music source to allow more variety of music and expanding our categories. As we continue exploring somaesthetic wearables, we believe in discovering new ways of implementing multisensory feedback and physiological data.