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Coping with social anxiety

Individual project at BSc in Industrial Design, TU/e, 2016. The design is research-based and technology driven. This means the inner workings are based on scientific research (more below) and the prototype is fully functional.

Modern technology has brought us many possibilities to connect, whenever and wherever. Sadly, this also brought along a generation of youth with growing rates of social anxiety.

The pondus aims to solve this. Invisible to surrounders, the Pondus provides gentle feedback to the user about their stress levels.  Through several methods, the user is helped to reduce stress and anxiety.

All schematics, code and 3D-files are available on GitHub.

The image below is a VR render of the design. You can look around the object by dragging your mouse or finger around the image.

The challenges

The biggest challenges of this project were (1) determining the real problem and (2) the technical solution.

I did a lot of research into papers and articles on the impact of technology on social interactions, and finally determined the social anxiety to be a field with a lot of potential for improvement.

Secondly, the technology of how to measure stress in a very small device, without high costs was a huge challenge. Using several different papers to understand the way to measure stress, I developed the right code to build a fully working prototype.


This is how Pondus measures stress. The balance between high-frequency heart beats (HF) and low-frequency beats (LF) is an indicator of stress levels.