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Stress emerging from everyday life situations affect people’s mental health. This is typical for people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who deal with stress as a chronic condition. Smart wearables are increasingly used to sense stress and help people cope with stress. Through his PhD research, Xueliang Li focuses on developing a design approach to design smart wearable technologies as partners that can engage people to actively cope with stress and promote partnerships with wearers.

Stress is like grit in your shoes: the longer you ignore it, the more it starts to hurt.

Xue Liang 'Sean' Li

He proposes a formgiving vocabulary to help designers understand and design smart wearables as partners by crafting their physical forms and temporal forms and the interaction gestalt using digital and physical materials. He provides design recommendations and insights on the implications of such technologies for designers by making and evaluating prototypes in the lab and real life contexts.

Designers of behavioral change systems face the ethical challenge to provide design interventions without compromising users’ autonomy.

Xue Liang 'Sean' Li

The pictures show the final prototypes of a smart glove (Grippy) which can learn about the wearer’s everyday stressful situations through associating bio-sensed signals and self-reports of stress with real-time locations, and support the wearer to gradually overcome these situations by means of self-initiated exposure training. His work also contributes to the theoretical discourse on applying intelligent agent technologies for the purpose of stress management.