thrum

Engendering 
mindfulness at work.

Context

Master's Thesis (MFA in Products of Design) 

Project advisor: Sinclair Scott Smith

thrum is a mindfulness tool designed with elected officials in mind. It enhances self-awareness by displaying one’s heartbeat as a gently pulsing light and occupying one’s hands in a mindful gesture. The pulse-light strengthens one’s relationship with their own body, helping individuals better understand their own and others' emotions.

HOW IT WORKS

Each thrum has a metal base and a single, inset LED light that blinks to display one’s pulse. The device is held against the wrist in the same gesture that one would use to manually take their pulse. This gesture occupies the hands and necessitates that one of the palms remain open, a mindful position that yoga practice links to enhanced listening and openness in decision-making.

The light is inset to make the display more personal; while others nearby can faintly see the blinking around the edges of the device, the person using it can see it best and most directly.

HOW IT WORKS

PROCESS

My initial sketches were inspired by medical devices; the overarching idea was to create a "first aid kit" for relationships.

Next I made a series of rough foam form models.

I used these to test the gestures and ergonomics, and asked classmates for their feedback.

This led me to the next iteration.

I created the CAD using OnShape, a design and engineering software similar to SolidWorks.

The final model was 3D-printed out of ABS plastic filament. I printed it in two pieces, but toleranced them to snap-fit together.

I also laser cut test lenses out of several materials, and decided to use the mirrored acrylic lens for the model.

The final model was hollow to give me the option of installing the electronics to create a looks-like/works-like prototype. However, for the purposes of this project, the looks-like model was more important.

I created the surface finish with several rounds of Aqua-Resin and sanding.

The finishing touches were matte and metallic spraypaint, and a bit of Photoshop.

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