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Echoic beads

For the project prompt of building an emerging interface around sound and emotion, our team built out the product concept “Echoic Beads." The product, Echoic Beads, plays playlists of sounds that are personalized and comforting for its user. Designed for the elderly population with memory issues, a large button is embedded on each bead as a music control for ease of use - a push of a button starts or stops the music played from a speaker connected via wifi.

Research, UX design, AR prototyping


Initialy elderly populations with Alzheimer's or dementia are chosen because they are a vulnerable group that is oftentimes overlooked.  This population, due to the nature of their illnesses, can sometimes fall into a state of anxiety, panic, or insecurity. They need an inclusive solution to create a comfortable environment for them. Therefore, in order to help this special population, we wanted to create a product that will restore their peace of mind and help them feel safe and content.


We started the concept development with the research on the effect of sound and music on older adults with memory issues. After several brainstorming sessions using the design thinking method, the team decided to move forward with hardware with a simple input mechanism that can be connected to an app through wifi. The elderly users and their families can build meaningful playlists of sounds together that helps the user live in a positive memory loop. These sounds trigger the memories of the user in a happy or safe time and leave them feeling peaceful when triggered. Echoic beads not only provide a way for the elderlies with Alzheimer's or dementia to spend time and connect with family but also a way to find themselves again in the sounds that are meaningful and personal to them. In the future, Echoic Beads can also be scaled to many more populations.

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For concept testing, a hardware prototype was created in 3D and exported to AR to create a virtual multi-modal experience. 

Daughter of a senior who has dementia

Perfect for my 92 year old mother! It’s nice to have a bracelet to remind her of her family anytime.

Grandson of a senior with Alzheimer

My grandpa can’t even use a CD player, but this is something he can actually enjoy.

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