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non-invasive therapy for epilepsy

MY ROLE

Research

Sketches

Ideation

UX/UI Design

Storyboarding

CAD modeling

ID + UX DESIGN

PROJECT Medical Device

DURATION 10 Weeks

TEAM Individual

STUDIO COLLABORATION

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PROJECT GOAL

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

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3.4

million

Americans

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65

millions

globally

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1/3

suffer from mental illness (i.e depression/ anxiety)

TWO PRIMARY WAYS

A SEIZURE CAN AFFECT THE BRAIN

GENERALIZED SEIZURE

Affects the entire brain

FOCAL SEIZURE

Affects a specific part of the brain

AND THERE ARE

TWO TYPES OF SEIZURES

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01

02

03

MOTOR SEIZURE

Producing sounds

A.K.A tonic clonic seizure

Uncontrollable jerking

NON MOTOR SEIZURE

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01

02

03

A.K.A absence seizure

Breif facial twitches

Blank stares

Flux is focused on generalized,

tonic clonic [motor] seizures

 

CURRENT SOLUTIONS

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.

MEDICATION

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SURGERY

IMPLANT(NEUROPACE RNS)

THE MAIN PROBLEMS WITH THESE SOLUTIONS ARE...

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Patients prefer not to undergo invasive solutions; i.e surgery/ implants

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Patients desire to have self-control in their daily activity

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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

   Architect

DESIGN OPPORTUNITY

How might I design a product that allows patients to be able to gain

self control in their daily activities through non-invasive therapy?

DESIGN CRITERIA

THROUGH FLUX ONE CAN EXPECT A ... PRODUCT

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THERAPEUTIC

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NON-INVASIVE

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UNOBTRUSIVE

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

NEMOS t-VNS

 

01  Non-Invasive

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

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INITIAL IDEATION

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.

REFINED CONCEPTS

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).

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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. 

 

INTRODUCING 

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BEST ALTERNATIVE

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.

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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

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02. Insert earbud

   into auricle

03. Auricular branch

  of vagus nerve

04. Transmission of excitation

     and activation of the brain

FLUX RELIES HEAVILY ON THE PAIRED APP

 
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COLLECTED DATA

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.

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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.

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TELEMEDICINE

 

Through telemedicine the user can contact their doctor for any curious questions or concerns via chat or facetime.

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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.

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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.

USB-C THUNDERBOLT

Takes less power, and has fast charging capabilities. Easy to plug in and take on the go.

Exploded View
 
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BEHIND THE DESIGN

PRIMARY RESEARCH

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.

Journey Map

BRANDING

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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TAKE A LOOK AT OTHER PROJECTS WHILE YOU'RE HERE :)