non-invasive therapy for epilepsy
ID + UX DESIGN
PROJECT Medical Device
DURATION 10 Weeks
To design a personal medical device with emerging technology that helps empower the user by aiding them in monitoring, managing, and improving their health.
WHAT IS EPILEPSY?
Epilepsy is a chronic condition in which a person experiences random, unprovoked episodes of seizure. There is no pre-diagnosis.
THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM EPILEPSY
suffer from mental illness (i.e depression/ anxiety)
TWO PRIMARY WAYS
A SEIZURE CAN AFFECT THE BRAIN
Affects the entire brain
Affects a specific part of the brain
AND THERE ARE
TWO TYPES OF SEIZURES
A.K.A tonic clonic seizure
NON MOTOR SEIZURE
A.K.A absence seizure
Breif facial twitches
Flux is focused on generalized,
tonic clonic [motor] seizures
Collective feedback with these solutions is that they see an increase in physical health, cognitive function, mental health, and a reduced worry about recurring seizures.
However there are side effects and risks for undergoing these methods. Some of the risks when undergoing surgery or placing the implants are: complications of anesthesia,
hemorrhage, tissue injury, or temporal pain.
With the medication route, patients can feel suicidal when they take antiepileptic drugs (AED), seizures can worsen if they stop the medication, and it takes a few tries to find the right medication combination.
THE MAIN PROBLEMS WITH THESE SOLUTIONS ARE...
Patients prefer not to undergo invasive solutions; i.e surgery/ implants
Patients desire to have self-control in their daily activity
Finding the right doctor is a huge factor that helps the patient cope with epilepsy
COMMENTS FROM A TONIC CLONIC PATIENT
" My life changed when I discovered I had epilepsy. I lost confidence to do daily tasks. Given my occupation as an architect, I feel as if I don't have self control over my body."
- Michael Freedman, 42
How might I design a product that allows patients to be able to gain
self control in their daily activities through non-invasive therapy?
THROUGH FLUX ONE CAN EXPECT A ... PRODUCT
02 Low Risk Side Effects
03 Short therapy duration
04 Sense of self-control
05 Proven to be 70 percent successful amongst
those who have tried this experiment
In my initial ideation I ideated storyboards that would best fit the design solution based on the current solutions. Ideas varied from discreet medical injections, EEG monitoring headbands, or a seizure stabilizing neck brace that also monitors heart rate.
After researching the emerging technology, NEMOS t-VNS, I created a storyboard of the earbud concept using bottom up innovation. To explore the other possibilities I re-ideated prior concepts such as the seizure stabilizing neck brace and the EEG headband follow the design criteria. However, the last two solutions were not therapeutic.
WHAT MAKES FLUX EARBUDS DIFFERENT?
During my early ideation phase I researched existing earbud designs, whether it was for sports or for recreational activities. Using NEMOS-tVNS as my inspiration, my intentions were to make the earbud design appear "medical", but also applicable to lifestyle wear.
COLORS | MATERIALS | FINISH
My form was ultimately inspired by the carabiner shape, where the metal bar hangs low (as seen in the mood board below). The electrical stimulation emitted would be located at the top of the earbud (shaped like a carabiner).
While prototyping the form I mostly worked in Rhino to quickly ideate various forms from one type of body. Then I 3D printed resin (earbuds)/ PLA filament (body base) prototypes to get the dimensionality. I wanted to see how the top bar would fit inside the earbud body, and if it would fit inside an ear.
Current epilepsy therapy treatments are invasive, have strong side effects, and can be risky. Taking medication is the first step, but if medication doesn't take effect, undergoing surgery or implanting implants are the most viable solution. Flux earbuds are one-of-a-kind. They control and stabilize generalized seizure (tonic clonic seizures) over time through therapeutic stimulation.
SMALL, YET POWERFUL
Patients gain independence and control over their life. Flux earbuds masks itself to look like normal earbuds on the outside, but provides valuable treatment on the inside.
HOW FLUX WORKS
01. Sensors emitting electrical impulses
02. Insert earbud
03. Auricular branch
of vagus nerve
04. Transmission of excitation
and activation of the brain
FLUX RELIES HEAVILY ON THE PAIRED APP
Flux can be accessed by both patient and doctor to control the user's stimulation and view data together. They would log in to their hospitals database to view collected data.
These are the key app feature that flux earbuds heavily relies on. The user can control how long the stimulation will last. They can do the stimulation intermittently, but must complete the four hour quota by the end of the day. The doctor sets a certain dosage (amperage) for the patient, because over stimulation can be dangerous. Collected data would be viewed by both parties. A seizure diary is also accompanied for the user to fill out after each session to see if there are any abnormalities or triggers.
Through telemedicine the user can contact their doctor for any curious questions or concerns via chat or facetime.
SOME KEY FEATURES OF THE FLUX EARBUD
RESILIENT BRAIDED CORD
Since Flux earbud and headset is constantly used everyday, Flux provides the patient with resilient braided cord to keep the wires from damaging on the inside.
FINGERED TOUCH SENSOR/
NOISE CANCELLING TECHNOLOGY
With slight tapping gesture, the patient can turn flux therapy on and off. Provided with noise cancellation technology, the user can block out sound and relax during their therapy session.
Takes less power, and has fast charging capabilities. Easy to plug in and take on the go.
USER JOURNEY MAP
This map highlights the different route my persona, Michael, can go through. Going through this timeline, he has tried the medication route, failing multiple times. Michael decided to go for the therapeutic route because he rather not risk undergoing surgery or implants.
I wanted the theme to be "lifestyle" based, so that the patient won't feel as if they have to treat it as a medical device. Since the product is electronic and produces signals (sound) I was inspired by music apps to create a fun, yet sophisticated color schema. The national epilepsy foundation color is purple, so I took that color choice into consideration and mixed it with blue to help represent medical and meditative ambience. For the font style and icon style, I thought a soft - rounded, technical appearance would compliment the form of my product.
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