Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)
Melinda is an experience designer with a passion for solving problems and designing for marginalized populations. She brims with curiosity and an insatiable desire to learn. She has dived into various topics, ranging from cardiovascular diseases, hard of hearing, elderly, mental health, etc. Technology brings lots of potential to the table, but without the designer to understand the needs and act as a voice for the people, the potential is wasted if it isn't designed with the user in mind.
Coming from an Interaction Design background, she sought to expand her understanding of the engineering side. After two years at IDE, she now combines her deep empathy with engineering and design to formulate realistic and elegant solutions. She has worked on a miniaturized defibrillator that enables loved ones to save those at risk of a cardiac arrest in the event of an emergency, which has been shortlisted for the Red Dot: Design Concept 2020 award. Her latest project empowers young adults to take charge of their own mental health by providing them with a kit that easily integrates into their daily lives.
2020 has been full of loss, and my heart reaches out to anybody affected. Our mental health is in a more precarious position than before. Especially after Covid-19, more people have started to pay more attention to caring for their mental health. I hope the conversation continues and concrete actions can be taken to solidify mental healthcare in our daily routine.
While my original plans for my project were disrupted, I was able to shift focus and was still able to gain valuable insight for my project. I believe through adversity, we can become stronger. I’ve learned more about my capabilities and was able to stretch myself as a designer through this process. I look forward to working on more meaningful projects in the future that aim to utilize and integrate technology into aspects of society that need it.
Ripple is a one-stop shop kit to introduce users to a set of healthy mental habits based on mindfulness cognitive behavioural therapy and combining what I’ve learned about how to integrate a ritual into daily life for young adults. It has a physical component and an app component. The physical component has a speaker and a camera that guides the user through yoga poses and gives feedback on how to adjust for correct posture. The speaker can also guide the user through short meditation sessions. The app side has a journaling tracker with a gamified system that encourages daily interaction.
Ripple is not meant to replace therapy. Instead, it acts as a stepping stone to therapy. It aims to familiarize people with therapy methods and equip them with basic healthy mental habits to hopefully avoid severe depression. However, if things become serious, Ripple will always recommend that they seek a professional for further guidance and assistance.
There is a stigma about mental health. Children are not taught about caring for their mental health in general education. This kit will not solve all the problems or overcome all the barriers, but hopefully it will start a conversation about concrete actions we can take to make mental health a topic taken seriously. With recent events, mental health has become a common topic. I hope that this conversation will continue and evolve into actions in education and the workplace.
You can read more about the project and the research that went into it at my portfolio: melindakuei.com/future-mental-health