The relationship between a parent and child is a unique and precious one, strengthened by communication. As children, we are nurtured by our parents to verbalize our thoughts, but what happens in the case of a non-verbal individual, like someone who is diagnosed with autism? Why are they forced to understand us and not the other way round? Why do we push them to learn our ways of communicating when their body is speaking to us?
To challenge and invert this unidirectional flow of communication, Textura explores the applications of galvanic skin response and heart rate sensors in detecting human emotions, all packaged into a single tactile experience.
Soft Goods Design
Presented at NYC Design Week'22
Soft Goods with embedded Technology
Design for Inclusion
Pratt Shows at NYC Design Week'22
Combining knowledge of interviews over an 8 month duration, literature reviews and personal experiences, data suggests that relatively inexperienced parents of younger children found it difficult to connect with their autistic child in their early adolescence and only with experience was a stronger bond formed. Moreover, therapists who play a key role in this tripartite relationship seldom get precise information on the child’s emotional state outside of therapy sessions.
Through user journeys and research analysis, the iterative process focused on:
Tactility of the product: Tactile sensations were found to be an enjoyable experience for children with autism, hence the inside of the pouch contains customizable tactile options that would encourage the child to engage with the pouch.
Unraveling emotions: Since a combination of biometrics heart rate and galvanic skin through which emotional data can be translated with 87% accuracy in the least intrusive and private way. The basis for the development revolved around solutions that could incorporate these sensors
Maintaining engagement: Highly sensitive autistic children may not take kindly to an on-body experience, thus the ideas generated gravitated towards a semi on-body experience. These ranged from handheld devices, to clothes, to gloves and finally settled upon a carriable pouch.
Autistic children often struggle to convey their emotions to those around them, including their parents. Therapists and parents are thus bound by a common desire to offer autistic children a space to communicate their authentic selves, an effort stymied by both parental misreads and parent- therapist conversations that may talk past the child.
Textura strengthens these communications via a tactile + digital ecosystem. Textura communicates real-time emotional data to therapists and parents while simultaneously offering autistic adolescents an intuitively likable, tactile sensory experience. The tactile + digital ecosystem offers a new potential route forward for all stakeholders by allowing the child to emote, the parents to offer better and more fine-tuned emotional responses, and the therapists a novel source of information that could facilitate better therapeutic interventions.