Technical outline:

This system uses a salivary cortisol measurement in the form of a toothbrush to measure salivary cortisol and a mobile application to allow the user to check their past cortisol levels. We would like to build a toothbrush that has a way to measure salivatory cortisol.

Existing technology that implements low cost salivary cortisol testing is outlined here: , and if possible we would like to build a system that detects cortisol with only the interaction described below.

We see the user interaction as follows – The user takes the toothbrush off the stand, and places it on their tongue. A sensor checks that a sample was successfully gathered, and when it is, the toothbrush starts vibrating, and a small LED notifies the user that the toothbrush is active. The user can then switch the toothbrush on and off while the LED is lit. When the user is done, they turn the toothbrush off and place it on its stand. At this point, the cortisol of the extracted sample is checked and relayed via bluetooth to the user’s phone. The next time the user brushes their teeth, the salivary tester is reset, so that another sample can be taken. This could have a ‘recharge time’, where the user cannot take a further sample until the current one has been analyzed or removed.

The mobile application requires the following capabilities:
    Connection to the toothbrush base to upload cortisol levels.
    Connection to a server which can aggregate this data.
    A daily and long term data dashboard, that allows the user to easily check their current cortisol, as well as long term trends.
    A notification system that can link the user to a video.

There will also be an online dashboard which has the following capabilities:
    A portal that can connect the toothbrush data to the user’s healthcare provider.
    An online dashboard where the user can check their cortisol trends.


Stresstimizer – optimize your stress levels.

Stresstimizer is a product that measures a user’s stress levels and helps the user manage them, as well as showing the long term trends of whether the user is becoming more or less stressed. Branded for middle aged men who work in high intensity jobs and make more than $150,000 a year, this package optimizes performance and health. Some stress can be a good motivator, but stress levels that are too high can distract professionals from work and cause them to make mistakes under pressure. Chronic high stress levels also correlate with a 5x chance of heart attack and stroke.

Stresstimizer helps a user manage their stress and build behaviors that will reduce stress over time, by recommending those behaviors and checking which ones work best. Examples of these behaviors are meditation, listening to relaxing music, and exercising. The behavioral goal is to make users more aware of their stress levels, and to respond to high stress levels with a behavior that relaxes them.

In this design, we took advantage B.J. Fogg framework for persuasive design by combining high motivation with high ability and a spark trigger. Because the target user is concerned with their health, and is remided by the app that their high stress levels will contribute to heart disease and stroke, the motivation to become more healthy is part of this. However, the visual design of the app will try to focus more on the user’s hope of optimizing their performance, and once the app has been used several times, the user will associate it with the pleasurable feeling of relaxation. Finally, the long term stress trends available in the app will trigger the user to be more concerned with their health.  

In terms of ability, once the user has bought the toothbrush, their only interaction with it will be brushing their teeth and placing the toothbrush in its charger mount. This incredibly low barrier to data collection will make it easy to pass the data to the mobile and web applications, as well as the patient’s health care provider, but will not on its own reduce stress levels. The other piece of increasing ability is the timing of the ‘focus excercise’. This will occur right after a user brushes their teeth, a time when most people tend to have a few minutes of free time before they go to sleep, or at least are more relaxed than other times.

The trigger for this is a notification from their phone, that asks them to complete a ‘focus exercise’. This will be listening to a relaxing soundtrack, stretching, or meditation, while focusing on their breathing. Feedback we got from potential users suggests that men in finance won’t take a ‘relaxation app’ seriously, so the visual design and branding will play to their competative side, pointing out that a slightly lower stress level will increase their productivity the following day. In terms of the B.J. Fogg framework, we view this as a spark and a facilitator. The spark element will be a phrase that emphasizes the impact of lower stress, either on performance or health. The facilitator element is that the app makes it very easy to complete the ‘focus exercise’ and become more relaxed. Over time, the user will complete these exercises more and more, so that they become ingrained habits, changing the user’s behavior to be much healthier.