Plugg log and physical prototype

For the final Interaction and Visual Interface Design project, my team created Plugg, a wearable music device for commuters using public transit. We researched the experience of commuters, looked for opportunities to improve the experience, and also create something that users would form an emotional connection with.

The resulting system involved wireless headphones that communicated with other devices and a controller built into the commuter’s bag. A ubiquitous system delivered information and music, instead of the commuter carrying an additional device.

Interviews and shadowing helped us understand the commuter experience and discover design opportunities. Bodystorming and re-labeling played a significant role in the development of the final prototype.

We looked at a range of online technology magazines for emerging technology for music devices, Eleksen’s wearable audio controls, emerging design for hearing aids, Philips phototonic textiles, a mobile phone interface for the London underground (undersound), and fabric control research by Amy Hurst.

This research helped inform our design decisions, especially the use of phototonic textiles and fabric controls.

Plugg Team

  • Jamin Hegeman
    Interaction Design
  • Sook Yeon Kim
    Interaction Design
  • James Chan Wook Lee
    Industrial Design



Affinity Diagram
Interviews and shadowing provided us with criteria to discover design opportunities.

Concept Validation Storyboard
We generated over 50 concepts, of which we selected a dozen to storyboard and present to potential users.

Concept Validation
Talking with potential users about our concepts resulted in valuable feedback that aided in refinement.

Headphone sketch
Since our headphones were wireless, we designed them to snap together to encourage users to keep them together. (rendering by team member)

Ear piece illustration
The edge was designed to be illuminated to let others know the user was unavailable, a key concern of our target users. (rendering by team member)

Controller illustration
These represent early sketches demonstrated the embedded LED in the fabric of the bag and our original controller, based on typical control buttons. (rendering by team member)

Embedded LED
The LED display, which is embedded in fabric of the bag, activates with a sliding motion. (Photo from video sketch)

Depiction of Interaction
We used bodystorming to develop the controller, which takes advantage of the users hand location, natural motion, and mapping.

Still from video sketch
When connected, the headphones glow in an attempt to create an emotional connection with the user. (Photo from video sketch)