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Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

Serra Umut

Serra is an interdisciplinary designer who enjoys creating functional products and services that improve the human experience and potentially contribute to people's emotional wellbeing. Her background allows her to work agile in Creative roles, as well as Strategic/or Business oriented roles.


Education

MA and MSc - Global Innovation Design, Royal College of Art and Imperial College, London.

MA and MSc Exchange Term - Keio University, Japan and Pratt Institute, New York.

BSc - Business Management, King’s College London, London.


Recent Work

Innovation Consultant at Givaudan UK - Switzerland - France (2020 - 2021)

Designer at Wolf in Motion, UK (2020 - 2021)

Brand Management & Digital Strategy at Enpara.com, Turkey (2017 - 2019)


Experience in Project Areas 

Consumer Goods, FemTech, Wearables, Virtual Reality, Web Design, Fintech, Circular Design, and Flavour Design. 


Features and Awards

2021, “The Future Happened: Designing the Future of Music”, Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), (OpenApril 2021 - April 2022). Live exhibit here.

2022, "The Worst Crit of Your Life" a Happiness Centered Design Tool for Designers, IF Design Award Winner

2022, "Graphia", Start-Up Power Award at Pratt Research Open House

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Lower ground floor

Statement

I am an interdisciplinary designer motivated to solve problems through empathic design thinking. I enjoy discovering problems in people's day-to-day lives and creating products and services that improve the human experience and contribute to their emotional wellbeing. Through my designs, I aim to combine a functional and tangible solution with a great emotional experience. My projects often end up joining both physical and digital elements. And, although I enjoy working on diverse topics, I am particularly interested in wearable solutions that improve people's mental and physical well being.

During GID (Global Innovation Design), I focused much of my time on discovering how designed objects around us impact our mood and wellbeing. I have explored various topics such as; Neuroscience, Perception and Multisensory Experiences, Behavioural Science, Psychology, and Sustainability. 

The projects showcased here are BOND, CALMO, Graphia, Tandem and Living Music. 


Thesis Project

My thesis project researches human perception and how positive distractions can potentially improve the pain experience of young patients diagnosed with cancer. It analyses how human-centred design can improve the overall patient experience in the most practical way. It is an ongoing research and experiment in collaboration with colleagues from the Keio University, Tokyo. If you would like to know more or collaborate please get in touch.

Breastfeeding has health benefits for babies and mothers, however missing out on this experience can have emotional consequences with mothers reporting feelings of inadequacy and sadness. Due to low breastmilk supply, mothers switch to bottle feeding even if they don’t want to. This interrupts the intimate breastfeeding connection between the baby’s mouth and the mother’s breast. The mentioned connection signals the brain for milk production, absence of it can lower milk supply further. This is frustrating for mothers who want to breastfeed and increase breastmilk supply.

Existing products either fail to offer physical connection, are unaesthetic, or time consuming to set up. This stresses and demoralises mothers even more. 

BOND allows formula milk to supplement a breastfeeding session without the need to switch to a bottle, helping mothers continue breastfeeding when they have low breastmilk supply. 

BOND supports and complements the natural breastfeeding experience, whilst creating conditions for milk production. It can also benefit other genders, adoptive parents, women with c-section births or breast surgeries etc.

Limited information is shared due to IP Protection reasons. Please do get in touch if you would like to learn more or collaborate, or if you have experienced this problem.

BOND solves an emotional need (simulation of breastfeeding) and a practical need (stimulation of milk production). 

With this project I aim to give mothers a choice. This product supports the “Fed is Best” wave. For whatever reason, when a caregiver has no or low breastmilk supply, they will have the choice to feed in any method they like. Breastfeeding or not breastfeeding can now be a choice!

Stakeholders have been involved at every stage of the project. Engineers and Soft Robotics experts were consulted for guidance about prototyping, flow rate testing, and internal mechanisms etc. 

Interviews with mothers helped to understand deeply about their feelings and their feedback guided emotional design. 

Conversations with lactation consultants, doulas, and paediatricians played an important role in technical and practical sides of the design. User testing with women was key in building the right fit and look, and these usability testings shaped the product design elements.

BOND has several side products and additional functions, please get in touch if you would like to learn more about these.

CALMO is a set of two wearable pads that send vibrations to calm the nervous system down during instant anxiety attacks. It is a wireless anxiety relief tool for tough moments, a discreet helper always there for you.

Anxiety disorder consists of feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that can interfere with one's daily activities. People suffer from irregular breathing, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, hot flashes, sweating or chills, similar to fever and etc. Regulation of anxiety is helpful, because anxiety appears suddenly, can last a few minutes, then symptoms can build up and become worse.

Many people find it tough to overcome instant anxiety attacks outside of their comfort zones. Products in the market are bulky products and make it obvious when they are being used.

CALMO is a completely different solution; it is a small product to calm the nervous system down, in a fast and discreet way in social settings. It is designed for instant anxiety moments, where there is no time to think. It acts as a pleasant distraction and shifts the users attention away from the event that triggered anxiety.

CALMO combines scientific approach and psychological approach in one device by using vibrations and breathing exercises to calm the nervous system down instantly.

FLEXIBLE SILICONE PADS WITH BLUETOOTHCalmo consists of two flexible silicone pads and a case made from polycarbonate plastic material. The silicone pads stick on human skin and remain connected to the case via bluetooth. The case is used for storing, wireless charging and activating the silicone pads. In order to remain discreet on a variety of skin types, the silicone pads come in different colours.
PRODUCT DETAILS
DETAILS OF PRODUCT DESIGN
BREATHING EXERCISE AND VIBRATIONS HELP CALM THE NERVOUS SYSTEM DOWN.A few coping strategies can help regulate anxiety. For instance, distracting the user with physical stimulations, sending vibrations, and providing breathing methods can rebalance heartbeat and other symptoms. Finding I According to certain study findings and existing products in the market, gentle vibrations can help calm the nervous system down in upto 30 seconds. Finding II Prolonged inhalation and exhalation breathing exercises can decrease the physical symptoms for anxiety.
CALMO CAN BE WORN ON ANKLES, WRISTS, ARMS AND ETC.
HOW IT WORKS Users follow the vibrational patterns to rebalance their rapid heartbeat. Calmo uses vibration guided breathing exercises to calm the nervous system down instantly. Once activated, users’ attention shifts away from the anxiety triggering event towards vibration patterns. Users follow the vibration pattern to ultimately rebalance their breathing levels and control rapid heartbeat. They inhale as vibration rises, and exhale as it falls.

Graphia is an essay writing aid tool for children that encourages visual thinking and improves visual and auditory processing, whilst simultaneously democratising the diagnosis process for Dysgraphia in middle school aged kids. It is encouraging a creative world that celebrates neurodiversity through its universal design.


In collaboration with Wacom, Graphia offers an AI (Artificial Intelligence) driven graphic tablet based diagnostic tool at a fraction of the price of traditional diagnostic methods. 


Dysgraphia is estimated to affect up to 20% of children, and is a neurological disorder that is considered a symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Disorders, and other Specific Learning Disabilities. It manifests in illegible handwriting, poor visual, auditory, and phonological processing, pain throughout the nervous system, poor thought organisation, and an inability to use writing as a communication tool. Children with Dysgraphia tend to perform poorly in school, and have a higher rate of depression and anxiety than children with no learning disabilities.


Currently, diagnosis must be done by a child behavioural psychologist with tests such as the TOWL, which is costly, time consuming, and often does not occur until children have already begun to fall behind in school.

Graphia is currently at the concept stage of development, and is moving into a collaboration with Wacom - a Japanese company specialising in graphic tablets - for user testing. Next steps include research into how similar technologies could be used in diagnosing other neurological conditions and mental illnesses.


In Collaboration with:

Marco Da Re

Luisa Charles

Dhruv Mishra

Wacom

Users have various options to explore their visual essay, such as; Mind Map, Idea Sketching and Text.
Users can use graphic aids to reorganise and edit their text.
The machine learning algorithm analyses pen pressure, azimuth angle, altitude and handwriting to provide a pre diagnosis for dysgraphia.

Graphia aims to solve both the issues of under diagnosis, and to provide coping strategies for those experiencing Dysgraphia. It is split into three tools:

  • Coping tools that provide strategies for children with or without Dysgraphia to learn how to write essays more easily and effectively.
  • Diagnostic tools that use a Machine Learning algorithm to provide a pre-diagnosis of Dysgraphia. Pre-diagnosis is made by analysing handwriting, and looking into pen pressure, pen angle and altitude, punctuation, grammar, and spelling data. 
  • Post-Diagnostic physical tools that enable children to continue utilising the essay writing skills they have learnt even after they might lose access to a Wacom tablet.

The coping tools focus on the core symptoms of Dysgraphia - poor visual, auditory, and phonological processing. They include visual and voice recorded mind mapping, spelling and grammar prompts, and progress reviews to help children understand their improvements.

A circular micro mobility device powered by young adults, and used by older adults to ease transportation and promote exercising for ageing.

For older adults who feel limited with the current transportation systems, Tandem becomes a safe and a balanced means of transportation and a way to stay physically active for longevity.

In Collaboration with:

Ilayda Kal

Orion Dai

WHEN IN USE BY OLDER ADULTS
WALKING EXERCISE FOR OLDER ADULTS
WHEN IN USE BY YOUNG ADULTS
PEDALLING EXERCISE FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Tandem vehicles are rented from docking stations spread out in the city, just like today’s existing systems. With Tandem, as young users ride, they generate electrical power through kinetic movement and return to dock once they are done. When older users ride with Tandem, they benefit from this stored energy to power 70% of their ride and power the remaining 30% of their ride through walking on the motor powered treadmill.

Living Music imagines a future where music production is designed in a way that it can adapt to environments or provide high level interactions.

A Speculative Design project into the future of music that makes songs adaptable, expressive and better integrated in our lives.

Living Music is a concept of real-time remixing. Here, artists construct not only songs, but the rules through which they are modulated, using generative algorithms, tracks that adapt based on the listeners’ environment, ambience, weather, and activities or schedule. Living Music platform lets us share with our friends, as one song can be influenced by two listeners and their environments. Living Music enables these experiences and archives them, helping us remember and share the events of our past.


In collaboration with Imperial/RCA students, California College of the Arts (CCA) students, and Lawrence Azerrad. Project displayed at San Francisco Design Week, 2020. For more information visit; SF Design Week - Designing the Future of Music. Check out the live exhibit through here.