University of Twente Student Theses


Development and integration of digital therapeutic platform complementing Breathline

Stambolieva, D. (2020) Development and integration of digital therapeutic platform complementing Breathline.

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Abstract:Exceeding high demands for the individual in the modern lifestyle can lead to overactivity, stress, illness and even the breakdown of body and mind. Often, a connection can be made between the mental health of an individual and her or his breathing pattern. For millennia eastern practises such as TaiChi, Yoga or Meditation, and more recently western science find that by training diaphragmatic breathing (encouraging the use of the diaphragm and abdomen muscles as opposed to the upper chest area), the wellbeing and general health of a person can be significantly improved. For this reason, the Breathline company has developed a wearable breathing sensor, which aims to train optimal breathing behavior through diaphragmatic breathing. Following several development stages, the Breathline device will soon be publicly available. Thus, the goal of this project was to develop a digital application, which aims to support the work of the Breathline wearable by providing instructions on optimal belly breathing, but also guiding the user’s emotional states along their journey of learning how to breathe deeper. The main research question for this project was “How to design and build a digital therapeutic application for university students, aimed at complementing the self-training of optimal breathing behaviour for Breathline?”. University students were the target audience for this application. A thorough literature review was conducted on both severity and characteristics of mental issues faced by university students, as well as positive habit formation. Moreover, market research on existing therapeutic applications was performed. Four design concepts for the supportive application were created in the wake of an ideation phase, which utilized various techniques. Employing individual and group brainstorming, stakeholder interviews, personas, usage scenarios and evaluation questionnaires, a final application concept was chosen, and a first set of necessary requirements was developed. The final product had to provide instructions on diaphragmatic breathing, inspire feelings of calmness and draw inspiration from nature, provide a progress overview of the user’s advancement as an incentive and have a simple and easy to navigate design. After realizing the final high-fidelity prototype, an evaluation with the target audience and the clients was held. The evaluation of the app showed that the most important requirements were fulfilled, and the final product demonstrated to be successful. Overall, this project provides an indepth guideline on how to establish a therapeutic framework through its ideation, specification and realization phases. In addition, the report includes worthwhile insights on the correlation between body and mind, mental health among university students, as well as positive habitual behaviors. Recommendations for future work include the adding of “base breath” for the optimal diaphragmatic breathing pattern of each individual since all persons have different optimal breathing patterns. Integration of audio recorded breathing instructions was proven to be highly beneficial throughout this project and therefore needed.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Creative Technology BSc (50447)
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