According to the CDC, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI or concussions) affects over 4 million Americans each year. It's a mysterious and debilitating injury that doctors are still trying to understand. Recovery times vary from weeks to months, and in some cases, years. Still, those dealing with post-concussion symptoms are left confused and frustrated as they hopelessly wait until it's over.
This project explores the quantified self in relation to medicine and healing. The goal is to create a product solution that helps patients manage a concussion recovery both physically and emotionally.
To glean insights on the condition, I began with primary and secondary research. I conducted in-person interviews, talking to doctors, neurologists, current patients and those who have suffered past injuries.
After clustering findings into target areas, pain points and mood boosting tactics, I determined 4 key insights to establish a direction.
Long recovery times and uncertainty create anxiety.
No visible symptoms make it hard to accommodate.
A reduced activity load can result in depression.
Recovery times differ depending on the individual.
Noggn is a wearable device that pairs with a mobile app. It tracks when the patient is feeling symptoms so they can manage them effectively. Every hour, the user receives a vibrating prompt via the wristband. If she or he is feeling symptomatic (dizzy, headaches, irritation, fatigue), they flip the band over to the red side.
Once the device is flipped, a capacitive touch sensor registers the action and records the data on a mobile app. After several days, clear progress is visualized, providing a sense of hope and reassurance.
The two sides serve as indicators to signal when they are feeling symptoms, even when they don’t show it. The wristband lets patients communicate visually how they are feeling, saving them from feeling awkward or embarrassed.
“Challenges” draw inspiration from Jane McGonical's tactic of using games to overcome adversity. Here, they serve as opportunities to feel empowered. At each level, the app prompts the patient with several challenges at the edge of their capability. The intent is to make the patient feel in control of their recovery.
Since all concussions are different, Noggn is designed to adapt to the needs of the individual. Inputs and challenges act as probes to measure their personal recovery rate. This information is sent to a database where research can be conducted, acting as a vehicle for citizen science and further improving the product.
With long recovery times, half the healing is mental and requires supportive environment. I'm fascinated by the idea of putting the patient in control of their own health. I'm also excited about devices that can collect valuable information for medical research.
Initial storyboarding to understand constraints, physical prototypes of possible solutions, mould making and casting first and second prototypes, initial user flows to map mobile app interactions.