Patina Engraver: Visualizing Activity Logs as Patina in Fashionable Trackers

CHI 2015, April 18–23, 2015, Seoul, Korea – Paper presentation

Best Paper of CHI


Moon-Hwan Lee, Seijin Cha, Tek-Jin Nam


Despite technological improvements in commercial activity trackers, little attention has been given to their emotional, social, or fashion-related qualities, such as their visual aesthetics and their relationship to self-expression and social connection. As an alternative integrated approach incorporating HCI, fashion, and product design, our project made use of the characteristics of patina to improve activity trackers as fashionable wearables. We developed the Patina Engraving System, which engraves patina-like patterns on an activity tracker according to a user’s activity logs. Using a piercing technique, the patina of activity logs has been made abstract, visually rich, gradually emerging, and historically accumulated. During the field trial, we found that the patina motivated the participants to increase exercises for engraving aesthetic patinas. A tracker with patina triggered spontaneous social interactions in face-to-face situations. The participants also cherished the trackers that held their own history. Based on the field trial, we discuss design implications for utilizing patina in designing future fashionable technologies.


Activity tracker; patina; fashion; digital fabrication.

ACM Classification

H.5.m. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): Miscellaneous.