Lightwear: An Exploration in Wearable Light Therapy

Bright Light Therapy scarfWe explored the social acceptability and user experience of wearable form factors as a portable option for Bright Light Therapy (BLT). BLT remains the predominant therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder despite a non-compliance rate of ~70% commonly attributed to the inconvenience of prolonged daily sitting in front of light boxes. To date, attempts to address convenience using wearable/portable light treatment options have been met with limited success for nuanced reasons (i.e., stigma, efficacy, etc.). In an effort to more substantively explore factors related to the wearability, convenience, contextual appropriateness, and social acceptability of on-body light therapy usage, we developed and evaluated six fashion-aligned wearable therapy prototypes leveraging light-emitting materials and lowprofile hardware. Our results showed that participants preferred more mainstream and convenient form factors (e.g., glasses, golfer’s hat, scarf), were open to wearing their BLT in certain public and private locations, and appreciated device duality and the fashionable potential of treatment (to counter stigma).