Product designer creates smart healthcare device
to help Hong Kong people calm their hearts in the epidemic
The capricious epidemic heaps enormous pressure on Hong Kong people. Seeing this, a graduate of the Higher Diploma in Product Design programme with the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI), Kinsey YU Hoi-ming, has developed a smart healthcare device, playing to his knack as a product designer and making use of smart technologies. The device helps urbanites to de-stress and instill positivity in the city in the face of the epidemic with a mindfulness approach.
Kinsey vividly recalls Hong Kong people busily stocking up with anti-epidemic products when the epidemic first appeared at the beginning of this year. Kinsey said, “Face masks and hand sanitisers became a must in keeping the virus at bay. But we may have overlooked its effects on our psyche.” Sensing the importance of psychological health, he teamed up with a handful of partners at the beginning of the virus outbreak to start up a product design company. Together, they developed a portable smart device, “Mindnap”. Everyone can achieve psychological well-being by using this tiny device to wind down while practising mindfulness, any time they like.
Product winning attention overseas
The smart device created by Kinsey is a miniature device with a built-in biological sensor to detect the heartbeat and breathing status of users. When practising mindfulness routines, the user can grip the device or place it in their palm and the in-built vibration can guide the user to moderate their breathing and thereby induce the heartbeat to stay at a more stable level and make them able to wind down. On top of that, the data on heartbeat and breathing will be stored in a mobile app, enabling the user to keep tabs on how the body functions during mindfulness practice. The mobile app will also suggest the optimal routine based on the data collected.
Kinsey leads a busy life and is under constant pressure as a product designer. He began to practise mindfulness more than a year ago and noticed that it concentrated his mind and so he would like to promote the importance of psychological health to the public through his design professionalism.
Kinsey’s team has basically completed development of the product in which overseas organisations from the US and Europe have indicated interest. He plans for the product launch of the smart device in the market next year.
Designer shouldering social responsibility
Reminiscing about his design journey, Kinsey tells of his love of design and determination to pursue the HKDI’s Higher Diploma in Product Design programme after graduating from secondary school. He said, “The job of a product designer is challenging. To produce an aesthetically pleasing and useful product, we have to break through the two-dimensional (2D) drawing, and select the appropriate materials while considering the cost effectiveness at the same time.” Inspired by the HKDI curriculum and teachers, Kinsey understands the need to strike a balance between aesthetics and practicality when actualising an idea into a product. During his HKDI study, he came to learn that product design also involved production as well as marketing and sales. The knowledge made him better able to take up the business side of the job after he formally became a product designer. “When I first managed the start-up, the knowledge I acquired at HKDI enabled me to handle well the tasks other than product design, like marketing and promotion,” said Kinsey.
After graduating from the Higher Diploma programme in 2015, Kinsey went on to take a design-related top-up degree programme. Having completed the programme, he joined a product design consultancy as a product designer with a focus on medical products.
In 2019, Kinsey started up a design firm with partners focusing on healthcare products and in the course of that, his understanding of the social responsibility of a product designer has been deepened. He said, “Product designers need more than thinking out of the box. They need to stay alert to the market pulse and understand the preferences of clients and users. Only through this can they help raise the living quality of the general public in the long run.” After the device of mindfulness has been launched in the market, Kinsey plans to continue to fine-tune the product to enhance its efficacy. Looking into the future, he will devote more time to developing smart healthcare products as his part in contributing to the well-being of society.