According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the third human need following physiological and safety needs is the need for belonging. Belongingness is one of the basic human needs and an essential element of wellbeing. Hence, a lack of belongingness not only makes one feel lonely and depressed but also directly impacts the quality of life and societal issues. Therefore, supporting emotional connections has become significant, and biosignals may provide a solution. Biosignals, such as heart rate, heartbeat, and breathing, send persistent signals. Biosignals carry personalized data and indicate the state of the body or emotions. Therefore, sharing biosignals holds a special meaning between people in intimate relationships. This study sought to explore how sharing biosignals between physically distant intimate individuals can aid in emotional connection. For this purpose, a breath signal sharing device, Wear-Breath, was developed. Design considerations were established through a literature review prior to system development. During the initial exploration, a system sharing internal body sounds from lungs, heart, and abdomen, called WearBeat, was developed. However, due to the limitations in interpreting the meaning of internal body sounds, breathing was utilized as the main biosignal in this study. This is because breathing shares similar characteristics with internal signals but can be intentionally controlled. Wear-Breath is a wearable system used by two people, allowing them to share breath signals with each other. It consists of a belt and a bracelet as a set. The belt measures the movement of the abdomen, and the bracelet provides a sensation of tightening and loosening on the wrist according to the breath. Additionally, it can send and receive vibration signals via a button located on the bracelet. After development, a user experience evaluation was conducted in a laboratory setting with parents (either mother or father) and their children. Ten parent-child pairs participated in the study, conducted in two separate rooms. The evaluation aimed to determine if emotional connection occurred and also explored comfort, usability, and various applications. As a result, emotional connection was confirmed. Specifically, participants reported feelings of being connected, sharing something unique between the two, and an increased interest in the other person. Also, its potential as a new channel for indirect communication and feasibility of wearing in everyday life were confirmed. Based on the results of the user experience evaluation, considerations were proposed for developing wearable devices that assist in emotional connection. The contribution of this study is the systematization of knowledge through the entire design process. Moreover, it aims to assist people who wish to develop wearable devices that aid emotional connection, and those who are isolated from relationships and experiencing loneliness and depression.
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