IPP Fall 2014

Sensory Replacement Helmet

Jules Gouvin-Moffat and Dylan Smyth

In the Easing the Street aka Homeless studio, we all had the same goal: to design and create a device that would make being homeless either in or outside of the shelter easier. We visited a homeless shelter in the beginning of the week, and talked to several people who work closely with homeless people. Homeless shelters are incredibly helpful and important, but visiting made it clear that homeless people lose their autonomy there. For example, there were extremely strict restrictions on when people were allowed to come and leave, how much they could eat, what they could do while at the shelter, etc.

Our team came together and knew that we wanted to focus on giving homeless people their autonomy back. After a few days of brainstorming, diagramming, mocking-up, and discussion, we decided to work on a sensory replacement/modification helmet that would give the user the ability to replace 3/5 of their senses (sight, hearing, and scent). Our final project did accomplish this through using: a viewing port with adjustable filters, a small tray placed directly underneath the viewing port that could insert any scent, and a 3-piece plastic ear cavern that replicates the sound of the ocean.

This was a thought-provoking project not only in that it straddled the line between conceptual and practical, but there were deeper layers behind our intent as well as our final product. Yes, our entire aim was to give homeless people autonomy through giving them control of their immediate surroundings. But we still end up being the ones dictating what their choices were.


Jules Gouvin-Moffat and 2 OthersJake Barton
Sofia Canale-Parola

Jake, Sofia, and I all have severe anxiety, which makes it extremely difficult for us--and millions of other people--to function normally. Although we all fidget constantly in a subconscious attempt to distract ourselves from anxiety, fidgeting is not actually effective in helping anxiety. So, we designed a stylish wrist brace with discreet "fidgetors" placed over pressure points that relieve anxiety when stimulated. When the user is feeling stressed, all they have to do is fidget with the fidgetors, and the anxiety is alleviated. Our final product translates those instinctual, repetitive, hand motions into something both productive and a true distraction from anxiety.

Anxiety Brace

Andrew Todd Marcus and 3 OthersJules Gouvin-Moffat
Sofia Canale-Parola
Jake Barton


Jules Gouvin-Moffat and 2 OthersJake Barton
Sofia Canale-Parola

Originally, our plan was to redesign the current stress ball in order to distract from anxiety (social and otherwise). Both of my partners and myself deal with severe anxiety every day. We started our first day talking about our current ways of distracting from anxiety and our past methods. We gave each other lots of inspiration for various designs that would have succeeded where our previous, easily-broken stress balls did not. The idea we liked best was a two-part bracelet modeled after spinning rings, with a rubber pad extending from the bracelet positioned in the palm of the user for them to squeeze and fidget with as needed. We also knew we wanted to be discreet. Frequently, those with anxiety look perfectly fine on the outside, even if we’re collapsing on the inside. I kept this concept with me throughout our entire design process.

Soon after coming up with this idea, we moved away from form to focus on concept. Our coaches helped us develop the idea of going beyond a simple fidget toy to create something that could convert our nervous energy into something both productive to others and/or ourselves. Then we had another brainstorm session, and made two lists of ideas: one showing all the ways we physically express anxiety, and one showing all the ways we combat anxiety as well as plans for combating it and contributing something useful.

We decided to work on a device specifically helping repetitive hand motion/hand twitching. We are, unfortunately, extremely intimate with this particular futile coping mechanism, but it definitely helped us on this project because we know what works and what doesn’t.

Almost immediately after, we came up with our next big plan: a fashionable wrist brace that uses acupressure to soothe and distract from anxiety. Even though we had a ton of cool ideas from our brainstorm, most of them existed already, and we needed and wanted to go further than that.

We talked to a massage therapist who told us all the pressure points he focuses on for acupressure that relieve anxiety. At that point, we were still stuck on the spinner bracelet idea, so we wanted to slot in a smaller version of spinners over all the pressure points. To actually start the acupressure, the user would have had to twist the bracelets.

Afterwards, we got a closer look at some 3D-printed prosthetics that other students had made. We were inspired by this model, and so chose to model the wrist brace out of strategically placed strips of plastic with elegant designs-similar to the prosthetic arms, except better-looking and comfortable. At this point we also started to think more about what would actually trigger the acupressure. The very first idea was to have a small knob with a raised surface that the user could simply press into the pressure point (at no injury to themselves, obviously). That idea was scrapped quickly in favor of a small plastic cylinder with a ball joint at one end and a rounded edge at the other. When the user would feel anxious and the need to fidget, they could easily flip the cylinder from its mostly horizontal resting position to massage-not just press into-a pressure point. The point of the ball joint was to allow them to turn it 360 degrees; however, once I modeled that it became clear this particular ball joint was actually quite constricting. To fix this, I sketched some plans and simplified a lot. The new version was simply a cylinder with a slot going all the way around, about halfway up.

For the wrist brace, we soon realized that the strips of plastic would be really clunky and unappealing. Jake and Sofia worked on two different versions that incorporated a more flexible style, using the Voronoi pattern (a spiderweb-type creation). This would use less material and also provide ready-made holes to place the fidgetors. Ultimately we went for Sofia’s model because it was generally smoother.

Following these many design shifts, we finally got a final version of the fidgetor! We had thought my third one would be the final, but we was wrong, as it was too small, not effective, and difficult to hold. The fourth and final one was roughly double the size of the previous version, and actually worked in relieving anxiety. There were three physical iterations, due to repeated misprints. Once the fidgetor was accomplished, we had to reconsider how to connect to the brace. We decided to make a rubber blob shape, screwed in an area contoured for it in the brace, with a hole for the fidgetor to fit through. 

At the same time, we also started to redesign the brace. The brace became a bracelet with an interesting shape molded and extended out of the top, sized so that it would fit all the pressure points. Our first model was (in a pixel-y style) a physical representation of anxiety. Our group decided we liked the second one more, but unfortunately the curves were too complicated to be 3D printed. So we redesigned it to make a a less complex version, that still incorporated the essence of anxiety, as it were.

We also made 8 digital versions and 6 physical versions of the piece connecting the fidgetor to the brace. The sizing kept getting messed up, which was why there were so many versions. This was largely caused by the overwhelming amount of files we had, as well as multiple miscommunications. With some extra help from a coach, the eighth version was perfect.

Once the drama of the attachment piece was finished, we went back to work on finishing our brace. The only truly difficult thing about modeling it was accurately placing the recesses for both Jake’s piece and the pressure points. After all the main portions printed out (the fidgetors, the brace, and the attachments) assembling was a relative breeze.


Andrew Todd Marcus and 4 OthersPablo Yanes
Carlos Alvarenga
Nuradin Bhatti
Mohammad Sayed

I always wished to have a cup holder to carry my drinks from the kitchen to my room and my food while I am sitting in front of the TV. There was nothing on the internet or Amazon. As the saying goes, “on top of every mountain there is a pathway.” NuVu was at the end of my pathway. With their help, the Universal Arm was invented. We are now way ahead of the competition.

The Universal Arm is an external arm that is made specifically for people in wheelchairs. For now it only works with the brand Quickie type wheelchairs. The arm is totally custom made from the ground up. It is easy to attach and detach. It was originally made to hold a tray for food, but as the process continued we added new parts so it is useful when not used for holding a tray. The Arm itself can hold pen, pencil, grocery bags, and have a place to be used as a wallet.

Three different arm was created. Each arm was unique in its own ways. The last is always the best. The problem with the first one was that it had three different hinges. The hinges were made to rotate the tray and place it on the side. Since there was not enough space on the side of my wheelchair, there was no need for the hinges. The issue with the second design was the diameter inside the tube. It was hard to slide it onto my wheelchair arm. There was also some unnecessary holes on the first par of the Universal Arm. To fix this problem was easy. I went back to the sketch and made the necessary changes. I increased the diameter by 5 mm and deleted the holes that I didn't need.

The new and final Universal Arm, at least for now, looks very strong. It is very easy to slide it on the arm. There are two parts for it because you can take it out and put it on your back pack when your not using it. There are also screw holes to adjust it, so you can rotate it to the side. The Universal Arm is not just an arm, it is a piece of art.

We will improve the arm to work with all kinds of wheelchairs. For now we are taking it one step at a time. We want this model to be as strong and useful as possible. When we are totally satisfied and like using it, then we will move forward.


Nuradin Bhatti

We started out with a box that functioned as a computer holder. Although this worked as a place to store your computer, it didn't add significant value to what's already available. Inspired by the GoPro case, we made a new kind of box that had greater use.  It was a solid brick that had holes to hold your things, like your electronics and other things meant for work.

There were several improvements that we made such as changing the arrangement of the item holders and adjusting the length of the case in order to fit in Sayed's bag. We included a food tray to fit beneath  the case so that when Sayed is done with his work he can store the case in his bag and have some tea.  Carlos made the food tray, and I made clips to attach the case to the tray. Although the design worked for the tray and the case to connect together, what didn't work was that the case looked weird when it wasn't flat because of the original clip design. The clips stuck out. In order to fix this, we put hinges on the clips so that they can be flat with the tray. We tested the function of the clips by using a pad to represent a corner of the case, and then we put the holder case prototype on the tray.  The design concept has come a long way, however, it still needs some work because Sayed's laptop doesn't fit in the case.  It won't take so long to fix.


Abi Tenenbaum

Our Goal was to make a movie that we would give people who aren’t at NuVu an idea of how NuVu works. We decided to focus our movie on the design process that goes on at NuVu, since that is one of the main things that makes NuVu what it is. We made scenes showing many tools and steps that we use when making projects, starting with brainstorming and all the way to the final model.

We decided to take live film and animate things on top of it, so that not only the content, but also the style of the movie show what students could do at NuVu. The style of our animations is white animated lines overlayed on top of live footage. We wanted to make the animations seem friendly and helpful, so we made them help the person in the scene do what they needed to do, from giving guidelines to follow, to showing things from new angles, to just making life easier.