Samsung  —  Calm Case of Galaxy

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PROJECT DETAILS

A stress-busting, mobile accessory to passively tackle anxiety without drawing any attention

Calm Case is a stress-busting mobile accessory for Samsung Galaxy Devices. It passively monitors user’s stress levels through the day, and utilises integrated GSR sensors to help relax via biofeedback.

By consistently measuring the sympathetic nervous system throughout the day, Calm Case can help reduce systematic stress in professionals and repair the damaged work/life balance, allowing people to switch off. It uses Biofeedback to help break the negative feedback loop of stress, and integrates calming breathing exercises, along with helpful tracking of stress levels and key stressors that contribute towards it.

Calm Case was a top 5 finalist of the Samsung Mobile Design Competition with Dezeen.

 

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Hidden function
Just like any other case

Calm Case looks like any other protective case for a phone. It does away with battery packs and complex processing components and leaves that to the phone. Instead, it utilises low-profile electrodes and wireless coils to keep the case as thin as possible.

Calm Case looks like any other protective case for a phone. It does away with battery packs and complex processing components and leaves that to the phone. Instead, it utilises low-profile electrodes and wireless coils to keep the case as thin as possible.

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The problem
The UK's stress epidemic

Behavioural patterns are difficult and energy consuming to rewire. Breaking cognitive executive functions drains energy massively. Instead of curbing phone usage, is it possible to passively reduce stress levels without the user being cognitively aware?

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74%

of  UK adults feel stressed and overwhelmed in daily life

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0.5m

professionals have stress-related mental health issues

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15m

lost working days due to stress-related issues yearly

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40%

of people check their work emails out of working hours

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24hrs

of screentime a week is the average for people in the UK

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10hrs

of  weekly unpaid overtime per person in the UK

THE TASK

How can we passively reduce stress levels and repair the work/life balance in professionals?

Biofeedback
Basically magic

A reliable method called ‘biofeedback’ has been proven to reduce the stress response. The user is monitored by a machine reading vital signs, it’s analysed into visual/auditory feedback, and presented back to the user. It uses positive reinforcement to gain control over involuntary bodily functions, and viewing yourself getting calmer actually makes you calmer.

A reliable method called ‘biofeedback’ has been proven to reduce the stress response. The user is monitored by a machine reading vital signs, it’s analysed into visual/auditory feedback, and presented back to the user. It uses positive reinforcement to gain control over involuntary bodily functions, and viewing yourself getting calmer actually makes you calmer.

A reliable method called ‘biofeedback’ has been proven to reduce the stress response. The user is monitored by a machine reading vital signs, it’s analysed into visual/auditory feedback, and presented back to the user. It uses positive reinforcement to gain control over involuntary bodily functions, and viewing yourself getting calmer actually makes you calmer.

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Prototyping
Experience & function

The key insight discovered is passive-measuring, ensuring that the user can still use their phone while having their stress levels monitored. Electrode placement was heavily investigated, aiming to accommodate as many hand grips as possible. A physical, working prototype was developed with Arduino and GSR sensors to understand common stressors and stress threshold, and how breathing exercises impact it.

The key insight discovered is passive-measuring, ensuring that the user can still use their phone while having their stress levels monitored. Electrode placement was heavily investigated, aiming to accommodate as many hand grips as possible. A physical, working prototype was developed with Arduino and GSR sensors to understand common stressors and stress threshold, and how breathing exercises impact it.

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Moodboard
CMF & styling

Investigating into different, calming colour schemes and textiles, with colour psychology information guiding as a basis. Cool, calming colours, textiles with contrast and emphasis on an attractive tactile feeling.

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Biofeedback in use
Live wallpapers

Integrated live wallpapers display stress levels and offer biofeedback to the user. The user can watch themselves become less stressed with the changing wallpapers and as such, become even calmer. For example, you can have a beautiful, sunny rainforest scene when calm, or a stormy version when stressed.

Integrated live wallpapers display stress levels and offer biofeedback to the user. The user can watch themselves become less stressed with the changing wallpapers and as such, become even calmer. For example, you can have a beautiful, sunny rainforest scene when calm, or a stormy version when stressed.

Biofeedback in use
Breathing exercises

Included breathing exercises consist of organic shapes that increase and decrease in size, corresponding to inhalation and exhalation. Monitoring stress levels while conducting these exercises allows the user to embrace the biofeedback part of this exercise, with the colours changing to softer, green/blue tones as their stress levels lower.

Included breathing exercises consist of organic shapes that increase and decrease in size, corresponding to inhalation and exhalation. Monitoring stress levels while conducting these exercises allows the user to embrace the biofeedback part of this exercise, with the colours changing to softer, green/blue tones as their stress levels lower.

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Biofeedback in use
Stress tracking

Stress data is seamlessly integrated into the Samsung Health app, where users can see their current-day stress levels, discerning which parts of the day caused stress and how they could change this. This also offers the opportunity to start the breathing exercises manually.

Integrated live wallpapers display stress levels and offer biofeedback to the user. The user can watch themselves become less stressed with the changing wallpapers and as such, become even calmer. For example, you can have a beautiful, sunny rainforest scene when calm, or a stormy version when stressed.

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How does it work?
Galvanic Skin Response

How does it work?
Galvanic Skin Response

How does it work?
Galvanic Skin Response

How does it work?
Galvanic Skin Response

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GSR sensors measure skin conductance, via sweat gland activity.

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Sweat gland activity is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

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GSR sensors measure skin conductance, via sweat gland activity.

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Changes in stress levels alter emotional state, and therefore sympathetic nervous system.

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GSR sensors require at least two site of skin to measure, usually the underside of fingers.

GSR sensors measure skin conductance, via sweat gland activity.

Sweat gland activity is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

GSR sensors measure skin conductance, via sweat gland activity.

Changes in stress levels alter emotional state, and therefore sympathetic nervous system.

GSR sensors require at least two site of skin to measure, usually the underside of fingers.

Working prototype
Arduino & GSR

To test the stress-reduction capabilities of biofeedback, prototypes were developed with GSR sensors and Arduino with WiFi capabilities. A breathing animation was built with CSS/Javascript and linked to the GSR, and with this, stress levels and the stress-reduction capabilities of the prototype can be monitored.

To test the stress-reduction capabilities of biofeedback, prototypes were developed with GSR sensors and Arduino with WiFi capabilities. A breathing animation was built with CSS/Javascript and linked to the GSR, and with this, stress levels and the stress-reduction capabilities of the prototype can be monitored.

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Samsung Developers Conference
Calm Case exhibited

As one of the top five, Calm Case was exhibited at the yearly conference, visited by key Samsung people, including the CEO, Kim Hyun Suk. A looks-like prototype was constructed by Samsung engineers for the conference, mounted on a Samsung Galaxy S10+.

As one of the top five, Calm Case was exhibited at the yearly conference, visited by key Samsung people, including the CEO, Kim Hyun Suk. A looks-like prototype was constructed by Samsung engineers for the conference, mounted on a Samsung Galaxy S10+.

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Chill out

© 2020 Emilios Farrington-Arnas