RESHAPE18 | sensing materialities
Product design category

Designers: Paula Cepeda, José Miguel Urrutia


Spür started as a school project at Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile.
Pursuing to counterattack the effects of cortisol (stress hormone) in our body, we studied people who suffered from depression caused by loneliness and proposed a wearable therapy involving sound.

Depression is a very common and serious medical illness that has become a major world issue: 16,6% of the people will suffer from depression at some point of their lives. The causes may be social, biological or psychological, and research points out that it can cause changes in how the brain functions, and translate in abnormal activity of neural circuit: our state of consciousness, behaviour and mood are linked to the neurochemical and electrical neural oscillations of our mind. People who are in situations of distress or anguish show an altered Electroencephalography exam, showing prolonged states of Beta Waves (14-40 Hz).This affects how you feel, think and act.

Among the symptoms (which range from mild to severe) we can include feeling worthless, sad, guilty, experience changes in appetite, weight and sleep, having trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and having suicidal thoughts. The most common treatment is antidepressant drugs, and we can find a wide offer of them, but people rarely find relief with the first one that is prescribed for them and finding the right one is a process of trial and error.

Our wearable device uses the Frequency following response principle to work: our mind and body can be affected and synchronized by external sources, such as sounds and rhythms— So yes, our brain waves are capable of imitating external frequencies.
Sound and rhythmic therapy have been used as treatment for several other challenges apart from depression, such as autism, addiction, anxiety, tremors, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Although it is still a field yet to be studied, new discoveries are being made every day.
Trials have shown successful and with great response from the patients who have participated. Experimental treatment and surgery have improved their life quality in about 6 months of stimulation, and every day more people are considering this therapy as an option.

Spür has coin vibration motors in key points of our body: the K27 points, which are a nerve centre located over the clavicles, and an important organizer of the flow of energy through the body; the DU14 and DU15 which are located in the base of the neck (on the 7th vertebra); and the cochlea, transmitting 8 Hz
vibration to our body. This is captured by the bones and skin in contact and conduct the electrical pulse to our brain. When your brain waves move in this frequency, you can induce a calm relaxed state, boosting your serotonin (chemical responsible for good feelings), and fight cortisol.


Its fabrication strategy depends on how and what the case is made of, but the essential part stays just in the vibrating motors, that could be run for under $20, and could eventually be replaced by other components as the prototype improves.