Hello, I’m Incia, an emerging industrial designer and a perpetual student of design. I believe good design to be an advanced form of communication. Every aspect of our interactions with the social and physical environments are shaped by design, both implicit and explicit. Design is more than just beautiful form. It has the power to change our communities. And I remain committed to using design as a means to enact positive change.
The four essential pillars encompass human-centric design approach and the understanding of full-bodied, three dimensional physical interaction of user, product and environment. The projects generate innovative solutions using research-driven, evidence-based designs which focus on the user experience.
Cocoon is an adaptive and sensory-friendly clothing option for children experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It is designed specifically for use in environments like airports, for the challenges one has to endure when traveling by air. The changes in routine, loud noises, and unpredictable crowds can present as triggers for the child, creating anxiety. In turn, Cocoon is designed to create a comfortable and safe experience for the child through the use of its design features, reducing their stress and helping them reconnect with the world around them.
Cocoon features a series of inflatable air pockets, strategically positioned to provide the same sensory stimulus on a child as a hug.
For children with sensory defensiveness, this provides relief, without evoking the sensitivities of social touch. The jacket also features opposing sensory pockets, lined with vibrotactile sensors, integrated into the fabric components, providing regulated haptic feedback to the palm and fingertips. This provides the child with a physical redirection to their self-stimulatory behavior. Cocoon also features a sound-reducing hood, designed to be adaptive in nature. Many children with a sensory processing disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder, do not like the sensation of fabric bunched around their neck. The adaptive hood allows the fabric to sit flat against the child’s back, allowing them to block out loud sounds and also create a visual block when needed and pulling back the adaptive hood when not in use.
The inflatable air pockets contained within the jacket are designed to mimic the sensory stimulus of a hug.
They are positioned to provide the most comfort to the child. The placement of the sensory pockets is also designed to provide optimal sensory stimulation, with an easy opening and integration of vibrotactile actuators within. The adaptive features included in both the pants and sound-reducing hood are designed to allow the child to easily remove both garments and don them when needed.
Cocoon aims to center sustainability at the core of its design.
The garment utilizes a lyocell and organic cotton blend, a staple eco-friendly fabric known for its durability and longevity. It is breathable and lightweight, requiring no pesticides or fertilizers to mill and most importantly, it is biodegradable. It uses 100% GRS recycled polyester in the design of its inflatable air pockets. The handheld air pump is made from eco-friendly natural rubber.
Air travel has become a convenient and accessible mode of transportation in this day and age, shortening distances as well as one’s travel time. However, for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, air travel can actually be a high risk and anxiety-inducing experience. The changes in routine, the unpredictability of the process, large crowds, new noises, and sights can all create an uncomfortable experience for children with ASD, as well as their travel companions. Parents go through a great deal of preparation to ensure the child has a comfortable journey, minimizing their exposure to any potential triggers that may exist. These triggers present themselves at various stages of the journey, starting from home, through the airport, and all the way to the cabin of the aircraft. Because autism is a hidden disability, it is even more challenging for parents to navigate the stressful checkpoints and the unpredictability of their child’s behavior. Airports and airlines are beginning to gain a better understanding of the difficulties experienced by autistic families, but more can be done to “demystify” and minimize the potential for surprises. The goal of this thesis is to create a better air travel experience for a child with autism, ensuring their journey is comfortable beginning from home to destination.
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