New Zealand designer Ramon Telfer used his own experiences of panic attacks to design The Calming Stone, a hand-held device created to help alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety (+ slideshow).
The 3D-printed prototype for Ramon Telfer's Calming Stone includes three features designed to counter physical and mental responses to stress.
Cool air is released onto the user’s face to encourage calmer breathing; lavender capsules can be inserted to scent the air and aid relaxation; and a wireless in-ear headphone enables the user to discreetly follow a series of guided meditations.
Telfer designed the Calming Stone based on practises he developed to manage his own panic attacks, in conjunction with advice from anxiety psychologists, to offer an alternative method for managing anxiety.
"Other than medication, there is not a product specifically designed to help improve mental health," Telfer told Dezeen.
"After years of struggling with my own anxiety problems, I developed multiple techniques to provide relief during anxiety episodes or panic attacks. I decided to design a device that combines these techniques to deliver instant panic relief anywhere, anytime."
Controls have been designed to be simple enough to operate in a state of panic, and even in the dark, thanks to a built-in light.
The form of the device is intended to fit ergonomically in the palm of the hand, and references Japanese Zen stacking stones.
Telfer tested ideas for the device during his own panic attacks.
"I discovered that breathing is one of the most important aspects of controlling emotion, whether it be anxiety, anger, or sadness," he explained. "By controlling your breathing and focusing on fresh, cool air many people have found that they can relieve stress."
"However, the depth of anxiety lies within the psyche. Anxiety can lead to irrational thinking and it is important to control these thoughts through guided meditation."
The product has been tested using heart rate and skin conductivity monitors and results suggest it can produce a substantial change in stress levels as indicated by pulse rate, respiration levels and mood response feedback.
Telfer sees a wider application of this product beyond its use for those suffering from anxiety disorders.
"The calming effects enable it to be used by anyone under stress or feeling normal levels of anxiety – whether it’s a child before a school speech, or a professional before a board presentation or an athlete before a competition," Telfer said.
The Calming Stone is currently at prototype stage and Ramon Telfer is looking for investment in its further development.