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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Rob Krentz

I’m a British designer focusing on enterprise and product innovation in healthcare & wellbeing. I enjoy the challenge and exploration of building something people ​actually​ want. Before studying here at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, I studied at the University of Southampton.


Degree Details

School of Design

Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

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1 in 5 females self-harm each year, as do 1 in 7 males. Self-injury costs the NHS £163 million a year and has life-long consequences for the individuals. There are currently no products on the market to help these people. That’s why I have created Triptik:

Triptik offers the world’s first zero-damage self-harm alternatives. The trio of products aim to enable the user to better manage their self-harm urges. The biochemical response from self-injury feels good and can become addictive, making it very hard to recover from. Triptik creates this same response - but without causing any tissue damage.

The first product is a paperback book-sized thermal grill creating a tactile illusion of burning pain. This is called the ‘Thunberg Grill Illusion’. All the user has to do is touch the aluminium bars which alternate between 40ºc and 20ºc. The grill is battery powered and is designed to be hidden in plain sight.

The second product is orally-administered capsaicin dissolvable film strips. Capsaicin is the active chemical found in chilli peppers that creates a burning sensation. It binds with the TRPV1 (pronounced trip-vee-one) ​protein (that is also stimulated by heat and abrasion) which results in the same noxious sensation, and biochemical release, as self-harming. Capsaicin effectively deceives the brain into thinking the body has been hurt. A jalapeño pepper has a Scoville unit of ~4,000. These film strips have a Scoville unit of around ~1,200,000+ creating instant pain that melts away anxiety.

These two products come with an accompanying smartphone app to track the patient’s recovery and visualises their progress. Daily questionnaires are completed to help accomplish micro-goals, such as: to stop self-harming for three days. These are designed to help the patient eventually stop self-injuring and break their addiction. The app can prompt the patient if usage has been low to contact their community mental health team, as well as sharing their successes too.

Triptik will be the first self-harm alternatives to be prescribed by a mental health professional; offered to patients that are actively attempting to recover.
Experience DesignHealthcareMental Healthproduct design

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