Follow the Light

Falck is a Danish healthcare company that is investigating COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) a terrible illness that affects millions of people and is a major cause of death worldwide. In collaboration with Falck, the team aimed to find new, innovative ways to increase the quality of life of the people affected by this sickness.

The team’s focus centered on the role that physical activity plays in the training of breath, to explore its positive impact on the life of people with chronic breathing issues. The team undertook immersive research in order to better understand this dynamic, taking part in a Hatha class, a yoga lesson focusing on breathing, but also running in-depth interviews with six different experts in breath training, from yoga and Pilates instructors to scuba divers. From the analysis of this data, perseverance emerged as the biggest factor for effective the training of breath; small movements performed regularly were more helpful than extreme training sessions. Moreover, breath training does not only improve lung capacity, but it also has a positive impact on mental health. Being able to control your breath prevents stress and, during a critical episode, can prevent falling into panic.

With these factors in mind, the team began an iterative process of ideation and, through brainstorming and co-creation, we came up with “Follow the Light”. “Follow the Light” is a device that COPD patients can use to do small simple movements that aim to train and improve their breathing. The device emits a ray of light that moves rhythmically up and down; the user has to focus on its movement and follow it with their head. This favors the training of their chest muscles, while concentrating on the movement of the light helps to establish a controlled breathing rhythm. The device’s pace is set by input coming from the patient’s heartbeat, making the device useful not only for daily practice but also for managing a crisis, while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.