Design a handheld electronic device to explore visual styling and basic manufacturability. The focus was to demonstrate the ability to deal with real life constraints, components and construction.

Anxiety, panic, and breathing

In situations of panic and stress, your body’s natural breathing rate changes. The body takes rapid, shallow breaths from the upper lungs, causing hyperventilation. This type of chest breathing causes an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Stress signals in the body are set off when blood is not oxygenated properly, and this contributes to anxiety and panic attacks.

During these situations you must train your body to slowly breath from the abdomen in diaphragmatic breathing.

resting breathing

•even exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide

hyperventilated breathing

•chest and abdominal pain
•tingling in hands and mouth

Why is this important?

Changing your breathing rate and pattern stimulates a parasympathetic response in the body that helps quell the panic response. In moments of emergency it is hard to remember to initiate a proper breathing response, professionals are not always available in these moments, so independent practice and repetition is important.

The Solution:

The design solution I am proposing is a handheld device for users to carry on their person in times of stress or panic. It will help users perform and practice healthy breathing techniques by providing visual and haptic feedback for users to follow.

This would be complementary to professional assistance and guidance to build good breathing habits and preparedness in times of distress.

ideation concepts

I wanted to design something that would have a good handheld quality to it. Something that would feel satisfying to hold in one or two hands, and could easily attach to your bag, your person, or slide easily into a pocket. I explored many different visual styles, landing on something I thought would give the most options for customization of colour, simplicity, and practicality when on your person.

final design concept: Breathe

Breathe is a handheld assistive device for breathing exercises when undergoing stress and panic. This device gives visual and haptic feedback that simulates the proper breathing rhythms to perform when undergoing stress. As the user holds onto the device, the lights and vibration help the user follow along, mimicking the proper breaths.

The device would be paired with an application to help select, add, and remove breathing patterns, describe in full how breathing patterns should be performed, and monitor your breathing when in use. This is not meant to replace professional help; it is a companion device to help the user practice and repeat healthy breathing techniques.


The device is intended to be used in high stress situations, so the physical interface is designed for simplicity. There is a primary “on/off” button, a toggle beneath the power button to switch between breath patterns, a switch on the right hand side for the vibration settings, and a single usb-c input for charging and connectivity.

It is important that the device be easily accessible when in need, so many physical features lend to easy handling. The carabiner hook is used for easy attachment on your person or a bag. The fluted, soft touch back plate has a grip-like surface which can be easily identified without sight and is secure in the hand.

selecting breath pattern

Once the user has toggled to a specific pattern, a timer will start and initiate the breath sequence. The LED display will instruct the type of mouth or nose breathing and the timing.

The light display and vibration will ascend and descend in intensity to mimic the pace of the breath you should be taking.


The top shell would be made from injection molded cellulose-acetate material with a bead blasted texture on the front face to provide good tactile quality, toughness, and metal embedment.

The middle chassis would be an investment casted aluminum alloy, it would provide structural support for the entire device and attach both the top and bottom shells together and house the primary I/O pcb for maximum protection.

The bottom shell would be made from an injection molded TPE-ETE (engineering thermoplastic elastomer) fit for molding over the spring-loaded gate insert for the carabiner hook and the soft touch surface texture.


I chose a range of colours that could be calming but still have the presence of a personality. They are meant to be vivid and bright in colour so that they are easily identifiable among personal items but still fit well with them.

Persimmon I E26C52 I CMYK: (7,71,71,0)

Navy I 3A3352 I CMYK: (81,81,42,36)

Powder Blue I 8EA7C6 I CMYK: (46,27,10,0)