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Writing Therapy Pods


The writing therapy pods are a smart system that aids therapists and promotes wellness. Historically, writing therapy has been effective but with the smart pen that detects movements and stress levels, therapists are able to receive direct feedback about what the patient is writing and can help understand problems without direct intervention. The pod itself is equipped with a display band that helps calm the user, changes to a pink color to keep the user engaged, and will turn orange when the user stops writing. If self-therapy is preferred, the pen detects stress levels and will display images of nature if high levels are detected.

Ashley Xiang (me), Dixie Dykens, and Jai Khanna

My Role

In this group research product design project, I served as the main designer but was involved in most of the design process. As a team, we conducted research through surveys and an extensive literature review, crafted requirements, developed our design, created a research protocol, and ran a pilot study. At the end, we crafted a research paper to be submitted for review.

Specifically, I worked on the prototyping of our initial design ideas and final 3-D models/renderings of the final pod design. I also supervised the editing of our presentations and formulated several outlines.


Tools Used
SketchUp, Photoshop Illustrator, Procreate

Final Product Video

A showcase of our design and its functions: 

Full Project

Final Presentation and Deck

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Final Design Process

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Final Research Design

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What's Next?

From our short pilot study, we would make sure to do more rounds of testing to make any reliable conclusions from the data. The questionnaires sent to patients and therapists will let us gain a first-hand perspective and have proper feedback to make improvements to our current design. We would then start experimenting with the actual technology and have the pen and pod system become seamless. 


This research project gave me insight into the cross between quantitative research and product design. I was able to publish a full research paper and actually test my design with real GSR wet sensors. Some challenges I overcame were dealing with disagreements about design decisions, coordinating work times, and maintaining a consistent workflow. My groupmates were a graduate student and an underclassman so working with them also exposed me to collaboration with an unfamiliar demographic and group. Despite being research-focused, I believe I can use the processes I learned in other future design projects, retaining the value of evidence-based design. 

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Read the research paper here.

Check out my other work as well here.

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