Headphones for people with ASD
Designed by Monica Bhyrappa
About the project.
Constant anxiety can be extremely distressing for people in the autistic spectrum. They have an increased sensitivity to sound, which makes it harder for them to focus on one specific sound at a time. This extreme sound input leads to overwhelming conditions such as anxiety attacks. Some common triggers for anxiety are noisy environments, social interactions & communication. In order to avoid anxiety, these people avoid going to such public spaces. Headphones with active noise cancellation are used by users in such situations. But that doesn't help users overcome their anxiety or converse with people in a public space with noise cancellation turned on.
Spectrum, was designed to enhance the life of people with ASD and create a more inclusive society. It is an active noise cancelling bluetooth headphone, designed specially for people with ASD. It features an optical heart rate monitoring system which constantly monitors the heart rate. It is located on the right ear-cup and when placed, positions itself right above the temporal pulse area of the ear. This detects anxiety attacks due to rapid heart rate of 200+ by the user during the attack. Once detected, it notifies the user via the voice assistant and app, and quick action is taken with active noise cancellation, followed by breathing techniques to relieve them of the panic attack.
It also features a cardioid microphone which automatically detects and enables only the closest audio by neutralizing the background noise. Only when a nearby person calls out the user‘s name or mentions any conversation starters (hey, excuse me etc.) the social mode gets enabled. Immediate changes can be done in the headphone itself whereas secondary settings can be altered using the app.
Two design concepts were awarded the SPECIAL MENTION accolade. Narrowly missing out on the top spot, two concepts were recognised by the international jury panel for their thought-provoking designs and concepts. To congratulate the recipients on this achievement and in in keeping with the BraunPrize tradition of supporting young design talent - the recipients of the SPECIAL MENTION accolade have been offered a mentorship with leaders from the Braun design team.
National Institute of Design, NID Haryana, Final year B.Des student, Industrial Design