This past spring semester, Western Washington University's Industrial Design department teamed up with Anvil Studios, who were proud to sponsor a Senior I.D. studio, led by professor Dell King, focused on the intersection of health and mobile technology. We're pleased to present the results, courtesy of WWU ID and Anvil Studios.
Design BriefOverview for Medical/Biometric Device and/or System:
Personal health monitoring and tracking with body worn sensors is becoming a big business. Several companies are addressing a variety of focused health monitoring systems from simple pedometers and calorie counters to fatigue sensors and full biometric activity tracking.
Design Exploration Opportunities:
Wearable technology, Interface, User Experience, Docking or nesting, Modularity
Inspiration images from the original brief
Samuel Martin, Sean Braaten, Larisa Schulze and Libby Kunkle
AIR QUALITYQuantifying, and making available, localized air quality content.
Each time you take a breath, what exactly are you breathing? Air quality varies immensely as you move through different locations. In fact, air indoors is of the lowest quality of any air you breathe daily. Existing air quality monitoring stations can only record macro-environmental trends, lending an opportunity to implement a solution that provides real-time, accurate reporting of micro-environmental air quality.
In terms of air pollutants, the EPA has classified six hazardous air-borne compounds: Ground Level Ozone. Particulate Matter, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Dioxide and Lead. Previously, the only technology capable of monitoring toxins like these was large and power-thirsty—but no longer. Micro-scaled sensors have become available and will continue to become more accessible in the next couple of years. Packaging this technology in a desirable and economical form enables individuals to better understand the immediate quality of the air they breathe.
This solution establishes a system that tracks the air quality on a micro-environmental scale. The wearable device travels with you daily: Tethered to a mobile device, it can provide immediate alerts. The device docks into a redesigned home thermostat, part of a system of sensors installed within the home environment. The dock acts as a centralized interface for cataloging air quality, pairing that information with weather forecasts, an expanded network of users and experts, and a toolkit for improving local air quality. That information, while available to the user, is additionally made publicly accessible, in the form of foot traffic route assistance and environmental record.
Anna Perrella, Kevin Courtney, Jessie Wixom, Jeff Grothe
From pregancy to preschool
Hearing is one of the first senses to develop in the womb. The fetal heart rate increases upon hearing familiar sounds and voices. After birth, infants recognize and are soothed by the sounds and voices they heard while in the womb. Both pre- and post-natal bonding are instrumental in the positive mental developed of a child, as well as in reducing complications during pregnancy.
Our goal was to develop a product that extends the benefits of prenatal bonding from conception through childhood. The wearable device uses a digital stethoscope to monitor the fetal heart rate, which responds to audio stimuli. Others who want to be involved
in the bonding process can place a call through the phone application and directly communicate with the fetus through the speakers in the device.
The interface adapts to changes in the pregnancy, automatically adjusting playback volume in line with gestational development. The interface also recognizes if the device is docked or free and adjusts the display functions accordingly. Once the baby is born, the docked device acts as an automatically responsive sound machine, baby monitor, and brightness-adjustable night light. The microphone senses sounds of distress from the infant, and responds through the speakers on the dock with familiar sounds heard while in the womb. The device can be taken on the go as a personalized sound machine for baby.
Sean Missal, Hunter Frerich, Nolan Leh
Assisting and advancing listening
In the United States, over 37 million individuals suffer from some form of hearing loss. This would create the largest disability class, though hearing loss not officially recognized as a disability. This leads many users to take up to eight years before being fitted for a hearing aid while dealing with impaired hearing. The stigma behind the hearing aid and its association with a disability was the largest driving force behind users waiting, followed by poor accessibility and poor adjustability due to small controls.
Our goal was to eliminate the stigma associated with hearing impairment, while capitalizing on design trends and current technology. The wearable device uses a unique form factor to differentiate it any other hearing apparatus on the market. Thus, the device may be regarded more as an entry into the technology market than the medical one. By not covering the ear, the device makes the user remains approachable—as opposed to closed off from the world—inviting conversation.
The controls of the device are accessed through the user's smartphone. Not only does this allow users to easily change settings, but the processing power of a smartphone can personalize and adjust the hearing directly for the user, providing real-time diagnostics. This interface can also benefit the general earphone wearer, not only the impaired. Identifying speech and important information automatically, while also pairing with other devices in the environment gives the everyday person added listening and communication ability that everyone can benefit from.