Easy Run

This phone was made for running…

What is it?
Easy Run investigates the possibilities for integrating a tangible user interface (TUI) on a graphical user interface (GUI). The neoprene iPhone casing is worn on the upper arm and is held in place by velcro straps. It maps specific functions of an iPhone allowing the user to perform basic operations via tangible buttons that are otherwise only accessible through a GUI. It allows the use of start/pause, volume up/down and the possibility to accept/reject incoming calls.

Who is it for?
It is made for active people such as runners or skiers for situations when the user needs to focus on their physical activity not the interaction with a GUI.

Why is it valuable?
The product is intended to be the first in a line of soft TUI’s augmenting different kinds of GUI’s.
Many of the electronic products that surround us have well designed GUI’s allowing full control over the many product features. However, in real life we use products in various contexts where GUI’s are not always appropriate. Our idea is to skin the tangible interface of an iPhone to fit a different context – in this case, going for a run.

A runner shouldn’t have to take their focus from running just to stop to adjust the volume or skip a track. This product allows easy and non-visual operation of an iPhone that you would otherwise need to remove from the cover at least a line of sight to operate. The buttons are large enough to be operated with a slap or push with one or several fingers, and placed far enough apart to prevent unintended operations. All you have to do is to slide the phone in, put in the plug, strap the Velcro and you’re off!

How does it work?
Built into the product are a microphone, wires, and electronics that are wired to three large buttons on the outside of the casing. These allow the user to perform the basic operations (start/pause, volume up/down, accept/reject).

What were your key learnings?
Prototyping in different materials, investigation into different fabrics, building and hacking electronics, joining aesthetics with physical properties of a product.

Special thanks to Vinay Venkatraman, David Mellis, Heather Martin and Eilidh Dickson.