Stories & Projects

The Feeling of Breath


In modern medicine, we are able to measure almost anything relating to our bodies. Analyzing and responding to that data is often a more complex procedure. In an effort to bridge that gap, three students at UID developed AERO° - a smart interface aimed at evolving anaesthesia and intensive care by making breathing visible in real time.

Text: Jens Persson, April 2018

The project, which recently won the Student Design Challenge at the 2018 TEI conference in Stockholm, targets a sensitive medical procedure where the connection between patient and nurse is vital. When a patient is anaesthetised, the central nervous system is suppressed, leaving the patient in a highly vulnerable state. To keep the patient safe the simultaneous monitoring of a multitude of physical parameters through a ventilator machine is required. A steady stream of complicated data feedback informs the medical staff about the status of the patient. The ability to break down all this information and act upon it accordingly takes time, and time is always of the essence in anaesthetics. Seconds can save lives.

IMG 1578Martina Eriksson showing AERO° at the 2018 TEI conference in Stockholm

The group behind the project is Martina Eriksson, Carolyn Wegner and Shibashankar Sahoo, first year students at the Masters Programme in Interaction Design. They wanted to create a user friendly interface where the nurse can better understand, and quicker respond to, the constant flow of data. The result is AERO°, an apparatus that offers a responsive physical representation of the collected data, making it easier for the nurse to interpret and visualize the status of the patient at any given moment. The goal? To help medical staff make better decisions, faster. Martina Eriksson explains.

"The 'Aero° smart tangible user interface' is the result of ten weeks of extensive research, prototyping and iteration. The interface addresses the limitations of current user interfaces by making the invisible phenomena of breathing visible. It envisions the next generation of interfaces that supports humanization of data."

LowaerosketchEarly sketch representing the tactile interface of AERO°

Through the physical representation of breathing patterns, revealing the lung's inner movement, a lot of hidden information can be exposed in an instant. For example, the change in the muscle relaxation inside the lung during anesthesia is something that can be felt faster through a tactile interface. It is envisioned that with the help of AERO° the tangible data, felt by the nurse, can be monitored in real time and directly manipulated when necessary.

PRODUCT FAMILYThe final prototype of AERO° presented at the  2018 TEI conference in Stockholm

The project 'Aero: A Tangible Interface for A Critical Healthcare Context' was carried out as part of the IxD1 course 'Project 1: Professional Product'

Written by Jens Persson

Click here to watch a video showcasing the functionalities of AERO°