We were given a brief by the RSA to design a piece of wearable technology which tackles or resolves a social issue. Out of all the competitions I have been given through my jewellery course I would say I enjoyed this one as I love creating interactive/ functional jewellery that benefits others in a positive way rather than being in a glass box and being admired from a far.
So I decided to research into Epilepsy because its something I have and want to manage and I also feel theirs this misconception as people think its to do with flashing lights which is not the case as there are different triggers of this being overly stressed and taking panic attacks is something that can also trigger this and I also feel that this is wide spread issue which is over stressing and panic attacks. Therefore, I thought why cant there be something that can help prevent this and so I began a long tedious thought process in thinking what form this could take i.e what are the inspirations for this. I thought to myself what technology is out there and how can I design around this? At first I was looking into brain activity and how someone could wear this; things like a portable EEG round your head but would someone wear something round there head in a public space or social environment…. probably not. I then began thinking of the heart rate and measuring stress that way but the only two places were limited to just tip of finger or behind the ear and again this would not have been the trendiest thing to pull off! But alas as a designer I did not regard this and tried out but since my thoughts are always scattered I always make a mess an put everything the one design (at one point I decided to put music in this ear device but I thought when you are stressed you already feel cut away from the world why be even more antisocial!) Wearability was another factor so I thought why not put something fluffy behind the ears but in the end I needed some other kind of inspiration to develop from so by accident I stumbled on a medical book that had images of air pockets which I found very interesting plus it was applicable as i wanted to target breathing and staying calm.
I then began the scary process of design looking at the “capillary” (yes thats what its called!) looking at shape and form what could this be how can I incorporate wearable technology these are the questions I had to ask myself! Continuing onto the design and air pockets/cappiliaries i thought about it being a stress ball that goes onto the ring therefore it would always be attached to the hand but the con to this is everyone hands are different to unless this would be tailor made to the individual i couldn’t see this being realistic! So i decided to just play around with this stress ball idea refining the design.
I was very intrigued in the shape and I thought how can I achieve this so I started looking into foam and thought this is a very interesting and aesthetically pleasing shape and I also was drawing to the texture of this shape. The textiles on the other hand looked very therapeutics and enticed me to put some kind of aroma therapy inside so I decided to put lavender, rosemary and lemon and eucalyptus inside the piece. So not only will you feel comfortable when squeezing the piece you will also make feel refreshed as well with its aroma therapy qualities.
I was also toying with the idea of using thermachromic paint/dye which is heat changing dye accordance with your body temperature and the idea would be when you are stressed your hand would heat up and the colour would be lighter. Moreover i wanted to use my own textiles since im entering a completion thats basically textiles i felt like a fool if i just “borrowed” a pattern so i decided to draw on my own designs for the “pads” for the “pod” so I wanted to create a pattern that looked fresh for the morning scent and calm for the night time scent
These drawing above relate to the patterns on the pad using green and yellow to elevate and brighten up a fresh day and using calm tones of purple and at the same time not using threatening veins to detach from the emotional response of the user. So I then used the technique of sublimation to transfer these drawings onto my fabric
I then dabbled into using 3D printing my first initial cad drawing werent what i thought it would be as it was very bulky in reality were as on the screen it looked fine (which is why u should always check the scale!) so since this was very bulky i had to squish the shape using cad and manipulate it a couple of days later you end up with this
Anyway back to the concept!
So how this works is you would wear this piece with 3 pads a Day (rosemary and lemon) a night (lavender) everyday (eucalyptus) just to give user a bit choice. I have incorporated a warning device in these pads so how this would work once the user get maximum stress to the point of panic the sensor detects this and starts to pulse like a physical heart! this also works well as an app were it would show u your history of stress levels and record them day to day and there is even an emergency button that calls ambulance .
The sensor used inside these pods are GSR sensors which is used in a lye detector and measures sweat in skin which would then detect how stressed u are with a heart pulse motor to keep u calm. all this technology in then kept in a trusty carrying case which can either be a necklace or if your a man in your pocket or keys.
I do hope RSA picks this device and i am planning on developing this further and perhaps using a bendable resin for the case so that the case can also be squeezed as well as the cushion but we shall see if this vision works! However if this can help even just one person i will be satisfied as its something i strongly believe in and i am passionate about making something to make a difference in someones life as it gives me a great feeling that i am helping someone through my creativity and designs and also collaborating with people also helps as i am making even more people aware of what i am doing and perhaps making that partnershi and connection!