Emotional Prosthesis
Advisor: Eilidh Dickson

Epidermis (“above the skin”) is a smart clothing with an emotional intelligence (1). It identifies emotions through the effects that they have on the body.

The prototype is the result of research done in a eating disorder recovery center with a majority of anorexia nervosa patients. This disease represents a singular state where mind and body are deeply affecting each others. Patients perceive their body with their difficult emotions without using their still healthy senses and during the recovery process one of the biggest struggles for them is the emotional management. Acting like a skin prosthesis, Epidermis recognises emotions, in particular anxiety, monitoring the effects that those have on the body vitals (respiration, temperature and heart beat). Once those three signals are sensed, an algorithm analyses and recognises patterns which are then associated with a specific emotion.

On one hand, the app acts as an user interface providing control and awareness for the user, who is able to constantly interpret and visualise the current emotional state and the vitals’s behaviours. Emotions are stored and organised in a calendar which visualises the development over time and enhances memory between a therapy session and another one.

On the other hand, Epidermis is an enhancement for emotional expression for who would not be possible otherwise.

Research, interviews and co-creation sessions were conduced in and thanks to the support of the Psykiatrisk Center Ballerup, Copenhagen.

(1)  Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s).

Coleman, Andrew (2008). A Dictionary of Psychology (3 ed.). Oxford University Press.