A student-developed gadget that could help people with bipolar disorder to sleep better is being exhibited at the Design Museum.
Megan Harley, who created the product, called ‘Aware’, for her final year project at Middlesex University, has been shortlisted for the 'AXA PPP Health Tech and You' exhibition. The product designer, who achieved a First Class Honours degree in part thanks to the device, was inspired to create the product by a family member who is bipolar.
The device is being showcased at the Design Museum until 26 April and aims to provide support for those with bipolar disorder who struggle to sleep. For those living with the condition, sleep patterns are highly significant as sleep acts as a prominent bio-marker and before a relapse some have not slept for days.
Harley developed a wristband and app that provides people with bipolar with a way to measure, monitor and manage their sleep and condition. The wristband is worn by an individual at night and is wirelessly synced to an app that makes them aware of patterns that may indicate an imminent relapse or ‘crisis’, helping them to self-manage the condition. Additionally, the app can be set so that it informs family members, friends, a psychiatrist or others in their support network as an option.
“It’s such an amazing opportunity to have my work displayed in the Design Museum so early on in my career," said Harley. "I feel really privileged to have been selected by industry experts from among more than 120 products developed by professional companies. I’m currently looking for investment to develop it further, but I’m pleased that the judges saw the potential in it.
“I’ve been contacted by people around the world asking when it will be available, so hopefully having it showcased in somewhere as prestigious as the Design Museum will be stepping stone to making it available.”
To create the design, the 22-year-old graduate evolved current fitness technology that is designed to measure sleep to help people with bipolar. ‘Aware’ could also be potentially used to collate information for research into the condition.
The product was selected as part of a global showcase on display to recognise the organisations, designers and clinicians who are developing effective new digital approaches to managing healthcare.
Middlesex University product design course leader, Wyn Griffiths, said: “We're very proud of Megan's achievement. Aware was her final year project and it brought together new technology and sensitive insight into bipolar support opportunities. Megan is a fantastic designer and representative of the course; open-minded, empathetic and with the creative and design craft skills to manifest meaningful design propositions.”
Find out more about the 'Health Tech and You' exhibition at https://www.healthtechandyou.com/