Emotional responses to medication
Singapore based Industrial Design student, Chan Min Yun has created a concept to change the way that people respond to medication with her Blooms project. The origami inspired design utilisises tiny parcels of thin water resistant paper which unfold when added to a glass of water into beautiful designs.
The idea is similar to the beautiful lotus flower teas that evolve from inconspicuous buds to elaborate flowers as they diffuse and according to Chan, the desired calming effect is the same. She explained:
“The experience of watching the blooming medicine serves as a form of emotional relief in addition to physical relief from the medication by slowing down our pace, creating a moment to take a breather”.
The concept of changing the relationship between the patient and their medication through design reminds me of Mathieu Lehanneur’s Therapeutic Objects work from 2001, where he examined the psychological affects of medication and how design could change the balance of power, from reliance to symbiosis.
His Third Lung Project (below) was designed specifically for asthmatic children. Between doses the puffer swells up in a balloon like way, which if the medication is not taken in time will pop. The ultimate goal is to empower the child to feel that they have a responsibility to care for the medication, rather than the other way around.
It will be interesting to see where this design movement goes from here. With the overwhelming trend towards m-health, will a similar sensibility be embedded into the UI design for health apps, or is the tangible nature of these projects what makes them so interesting and special.