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ACAD Micro Prototyping Award

ACIDO Rocket Competition

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George Lynn Memorial Scholarship

Carleton University

Cove

Cove is a low-cost device that temporarily attaches to users smartphones simplifies
the functions of the phone for individuals with traumatic brain injuries.

Problem

When suffering from a traumatic head injury (TBI), the inability to perform everyday tasks is devastating to a person’s mental well-being and recovery. Victims suffer from memory loss, depression, fogginess, severe headaches, and can become overstimulated very easily. Their ability to lead their everyday lives is vastly impaired.

Opportunity

Opportunity lies in creating low-cost device that reduces the cognitive stimulation that is required to use mobile phones by designing an analog interface that temporally attaches to smartphones to reduce cognitive strain.

7 months

School assigment 

Research

Background Research

In-depth research was performed on various screens, the symptoms experienced by various levels of TBI's, accessible UI design practices, and technologies that could benefit sufferers. This report goes into detai ls explaining the findings.

Key Findings

Traumatic Brain Injury Impairments 

When suffering from a traumatic head injury (TBI), the inability to perform everyday tasks is devastating to a person’s mental well-being and recovery. Victims suffer from memory loss, depression, fogginess, severe headaches, and are able to become over-stimulated very easily.

Phone Functions

After consulting with various individuals about what they considered to be the most functions of a smartphone, I created a mind map to synthesize my data, which allowed me to determined to be the most critical functions of a phone.

E-ink Screens

A study comparing LCD to an E-ink Screen shows that E-Ink screens did not aggravate symptoms and was a more enjoyable experience for suffers. Users from this study state that they would purchase a E-ink product to reduce symptoms if cost was reasonable . As the technology progresses, e-ink screens are being released with smoother transitions and high resolutions.

The reason E-ink screens don’t aggravate symptoms compared to LCD screens for individuals with TBI’s is due to the fact that LCD screens intense contrast and refresh rate of the screen overwhelm the brain.

Development

Development and Testing

As a very hands-on individual, this exploration occurred through a lot of cardboard models and quick 3D prints. I printed various amount of buttons and analog inputs, such as sliders and knobs, allowing me to explore a vast array of possibilities very quickly and start figuring out what seemed to work. I was also able to use these models to get feedback from various individuals and professionals.

The various pictures show models created to explore interface, form, size, and perform user testing. The results of these tests dictated the final size, interface, and form. This is a brief overview of all the models that were created throughout the semester.

A brief demonstration of one of the models used to perform user testing for the user interface. Using Adobe XD I was able to implement voice commands and realistic gesture controls.

Preliminary tests of a touchpad concept that allows me to create a low-cost product by eliminating the need for sensors and just utilizing the phone's screen. The first test was preformed using aluminum foil found in the kitchen after learning how touchscreen gloves work.

I explored various aesthetic options ranging from more rectilinear shapes to more organic options. It was important to include the phone when looking at the aesthetic design to create a design that visually communicated that it was an extension of the phone. After creating these 18 styles, I asked users to rate their top designs. After determining the top three most popular methods, I created 3d printed versions of them and examined how well they worked ergonomically; this process left me with a design that’s form followed its function.

Solution

Design Solution

Cove takes advantage of the technology available on all smartphones and presents it to individuals in a modified form that will not aggravate symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. It does this by reducing the phone down to its most basic functions and providing users with an interface based on accessible UI design patterns. Allowing individuals to reclaim part of their lives and ease the recovery process and the isolation they may feel.

Features

Fits the majority of

smartphones

Does not aggravate symptoms

Low-cost

Tactical and haptic feedback

Intuitive navigation

Provides a phone grip

Use cycle

1) Open Cove App

2) place Cove on phone

3) Secure Strap

4) Plug in Cable

5) Adjust Panel

6) Use as Desired

Navigation

Using design patterns that are common provides users with a smoother experience, reducing frustration and strain when navigating the product. Cove is designed to allow individuals to access essential functions while reducing the strain. 
The phone would provide vibrations and audio feedback while navigating to provide the user with haptic feedback

Design Details

E-ink Screens require much less effort to read due to their lower contrast ratio and their virtually nonexistent refresh rate. A study comparing LCD to an E-ink Screen shows that E-Ink screens did not aggravate symptoms and was a more enjoyable experience for suffers.

An Adjustable Panel allows the device to cover phone screens of various sizes. User feedback informed the importance of having this feature.

A Raised TouchPad transmits the electricity from the user’s finger to the smartphone screen, allowing the user to navigate the device using the computing power of the phone. Raising them Allows for tactical feedback—Essenctial for those with reduced motor skills or dexterity.

An easy-adjust system that not only allows the user to quickly place/ or remove Cove but also helps the user hold their phone, preventing accidental drops. Flipping the strap allows for left handed usage.

Uses any average smartphone and the muscle to produce sound, vibration, power, and store user data and provide program data. Allowing cost to stay very low.

Components

Extras