Mental health is a pressing issue in today’s society- affecting one’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Unfortunately, stigma and lack of resources has made emotional management much more difficult. Many find themselves to be stressed, anxious, and depressed with little understanding of how to cope or alleviate their symptoms. We wanted to provide an app that would combine the physiological and emotional aspects of mental health.
What it does
Our app and smart bracelet allows for many symptoms to be tracked, and for users to try new coping mechanisms such as meditation, journaling, words of affirmation, and etc. Additionally, a very common symptom of panic attacks and anxiety attacks is that they will struggle with speech. Being unable to talk and in a state where emotions are at a high, seeking help and gaining comfort may become difficult. The bracelet will detect when an anxiety or panic attack may occur by comparing heart rate, blood pressure, and more to a user’s typical measurements. If the user is determined to be having an anxiety or panic attack, then the bracelet will automatically play the user’s preferred coping mechanism and notify their emergency contacts or physiatrist if applicable. When setting up the application, the user may select which coping mechanism works best for them- and may change it in the settings if they change their preference over time.
How we built it
Hardware: The hardware of our IoT wearable technology was simulated using Proteus Design Suite. The arduino is a single-board microcontroller that we connected to a HC-05 Bluetooth Module and Maxim Max30102. The Max 30102 is a pulse oximeter and arduino compatible sensor. The pulse oximetry uses the magnitude of reflected red and infrared light to approximate oxygen saturation (Sp02) in the blood, and uses the time series response of the reflected red and infrared light to approximate heart rate (BPM). The HC-05 bluetooth module is a CC2541 based module used to allow bluetooth connection between our smart IoT bracelet and the phone application. The bluetooth technology will allow data to be transmitted and received wirelessly, while also managing the communication channel. Parameters collected from the bracelet can then be easily transported and displayed on the app itself- examples of parameters our device is collecting are BPM, Sp02, and SBP/DBP (heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure).
Software: The software was developed on android studio using Java. To test our app, we ran it on an android phone. The use of the android phone allows us to better see the UI/UX design, and to make adjustments where most appropriate.
Vonage API: Integrated user authentication to ensure that privacy and anonymity is remained. Mental health is a very sensitive topic, and many would use our app to release their personal thoughts and stress.
Voiceflow: To increase ease of use and accessibility of our application, we wanted to ensure that features would also be available through voice applications. Using voiceflow, we’ve allowed several features to be utilized on alexa, siri, and google homes. Features would include, voice dictated journaling, checking for blood pressure, meditation, and more. One of the main goals of Kamakshi is to allow users to easily relax and reduce stress. Many users may not be as technologically proficient, or often may simply need a break from technology, and the implication of voiceflow allows this to be possible. Voiceflow allows users to easily gain access to the support and resources they need, in less than a click of a button. The increased accessibility of mental health tools and resources provided by Kamakshi will allow more users to feel comfortable utilizing the app and bracelet in their everyday lives. For users who may prefer to do meditation and yoga, they may simply ask their device to play their respective audio. Additionally, the voice application feature allows for a more personal experience, and rids of the loneliness that may be brought on from only simply the app alone. The pandemic has been a great example of how loneliness can affect individuals mental health, and being able to talk to someone, even if it is google or alexa, can greatly help in reducing negative emotions.
Domain: We registered two domains with Domain.com. (1) Kamakshi.space and (2) Simplypositive.space.
Challenges we ran into
As beginner coders, there were many roadblocks to overcome! To start, neither of us have had experience in using Proteus Design Suite. There were many technical difficulties to overcome in our hardware simulator. As well, we have never used physical hardware before, and were fairly new as to how the components would fit together. As well, neither of us are very familiar with android studio- one having minimal experience with it, and the other with no experience. The API was particularly difficult for the two of us, as we have never worked with or used an API before. There were many challenges with integrating the Vonage API and getting the user authentication feature to work with our sign in button.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We are proud of our hard work and drive to learn! With a team of only two, we were able to put our minds to the task and get great amounts of work done! Our passion to learn is unique to our group, and we are proud to have been able to develop that passion further.
What we learned
As we came in with little knowledge, we were able to leave with a much stronger comprehension of how APIs work and how they are integrated. As well, we were able to learn how parameters such as BPM, Sp02, and SBP/DBP are measured using sensors that connect to arduinos.
What's next for Kamakshi
We would love to implement a real app or test out our hardware with a physical arduino! Mental health advocacy is important, and we would love to see Kamakshi make a real change in the community. We would like to expand our implications of Vonage API into our software to allow for users to connect with professionals, such as therapists or psychiatrists. The communication API would allow us to integrate voice, video, and messaging. Especially during the pandemic, we have seen an increased difficulty in accessing mental health resources online. To ensure that everyone who is struggling is able to seek the help they need, these communication features will make it easy no matter where one is located.