What it does
Oasis reduces visual distractions in open environments. The product uses electrochromic film to dim peripheral vision while keeping the main field of view in focus. The user can adjust the dimming and turn it off to seamlessly reengage with the environment.
I derived the concept from ADHD research, which shows that ADHD varies by environment and individual needs. The best way to treat ADHD is at the “point of performance”, which modifies natural points where the impairment occurs. I found that adults with ADHD need different spaces for different work; an open environment for collaborative work, and a closed distraction-free environment for detail-oriented tasks. The problem is this space is not always available or accessible, and if it is the person can feel or become isolated from the environment. How can I reduce visual distractions in an open environment without the person feeling secluded?
How it works
Oasis uses electrochromic film to dim the user’s mid-to-far peripheral vision and keep their main field of view in focus. By dimming peripheral vision, it reduces distracting visual stimuli in the environment. The user can adjust the dimming with the Dimmer Wheel which adjusts the voltage applied to the electrochromic film and turn it off with a capacitive touch button to reengage with the environment. The EC film is applied to an optical polycarbonate "Vignette" piece which is powered by two Li-ion batteries in the temples. The charging case is also a desk clock to help with time-keeping and reminders. Oasis has a haptic engine to provide tactile feedback and haptic chimes to remind users of time passing and refocusing the mind. A “Maglens” attachment allows users who need prescription lenses use the device with their prescription. The device has two sizes, medium-large and small, and uses standard Rx curvatures to conform to a wide variety of heads.
I reviewed ADHD research and literature to understand the condition scientifically. I focused on the environmental context of ADHD. I surveyed 100 ADHD adults worldwide and interviewed 10 of them at different life and career stages. I synthesized 580 observations into problem and need statements. I filtered 180 need statements to form a design guide. I generated various concepts and got feedback from users and stakeholders. Oasis was selected for further development. I wanted to avoid stigma and involuntary disclosure of ADHD in a neurotypical environment. As I developed Oasis, users without ADHD said they would use it too, making it a universal focusing tool. The development process was prototype focused. I used 3D printing to iterate and test versions of the concept while getting user feedback. Early prototypes focused on functionality before form. Some iterations included adjusting the "Vignette" dimming effect, the temples and the conformity to the face. I tested electrochromic film with PDLC samples from China. This informed me how it works and its effectiveness. I analysed how smart-glasses are assembled and designed the concept for manufacture using off-the-shelf and custom parts. My analogue prototypes have shown the Vignette Effect and form work very well.
How it is different
Unlike current solutions, Oasis is considerate of dynamic working and learning environments around the user. There are fixed static solutions, such as dividers, that cannot adapt to different tasks, settings, or moods. Attempts at wearable solutions such as the Panasonic Wearspace are segregating and not versatile. Oasis is approachable, discrete, adaptable, and accessible. Oasis explores adapting an environment to the user rather than the user trying to adapt to an environment that does not cater to them. It creates a ramp into an environment that the user would normally struggle to focus in and does this in a way that doesn’t segregate the user, still allowing for seamless social interaction. Oasis is a new product category that creates the ideal focusing environment anywhere, anytime. One user described them as "headphones for your eyes" but unlike headphones they do not create a mental and physical divide between a person and the user.
I am very interested in bringing Oasis to market. My 13 prototypes of Oasis prove the concept’s feasibility in an analogue form. But I need to now make technology-focused prototypes with the latest advancements in electrochromic film which allow for a clear to dim transition. I need to source the technology and connect with manufacturers who specialise in it. My next hurdle is exploring how curved electrochromic film can be, which could further direct the design. I am looking for funding opportunities to: - Advance the development of Oasis - Possibly obtain an EU design patent - Commercialise it
I received a designer of the year award from the University of Limerick for this project.