by Natalie Yang

By Adam, Lucy, TJ, and Natalie


Often in life, we feel overwhelmed by the delusion of perfectly balanced self-care. People are told to sleep 8 hours, cook wholesome meals and eat well, spend time with friends, be productive at work, clean, exercise, and be grateful. It often feels like there’s no time to do everything, and people feel pressure to sacrifice one aspect of wellbeing for the sake of others, usually work. But numerous studies emphasize the importance of balance. Exercise has been found to support positive mental health (Penedo & Dahn, 2005). A study of undergraduates found that poor sleep in quality and duration is associated with psychological well-being problems (Khai, Gao, & Wang, 2018) and socialization in the form of person-to-person contact has been found to help regulate physical responses to stress and anxiety (Pinker, 2014). Yet consistently, people struggle to find the balance between these different spheres of their lives. We thought about this problem and wanted to come up with a way to emphasize a harmonious interaction between multiple life spheres. 


HARMONY is to inspire the user to maintain a state of harmony between three essential components of your life. Rather than saying each sphere needs to be in perfect balance, the sculpture reminds the user that these categories exist in congruence with each other. In our example, we use exercise, sleep, and socializing, but people may choose their own three important life categories, dubbed “spheres.” 

Goal tracking apps exist to allow users to make progress on personalized goals, but they fall short. Other apps lack the physical manifestation of personal goal progress that our sculpture creates, and they don’t recognize the holistic experience of a balanced life. Rather than thinking of each goal as a static, independent checkbox, HARMONY acknowledges the transient, interconnected nature of the balance between different life goals. 



Our sculpture combines light, color, and movement to create a beautiful, visual representation of balance. It connects to an app where the user can log their daily, weekly, or monthly progress on goals within their three personalized spheres. Customize your spheres, create your goals, track your progress, and be inspired to find harmony.

Harmony App



When the user reports engaging with a sphere through the app, the responding prong lifts in response. The sculpture becomes a visual representation of the person’s progress log on their goals over the course of the day, week, or month (the user sets their own desired time frame). By engaging with the soothing movement of the sculpture, users are prompted to continue their quest for flourishing and wellbeing. 


The sphere shape symbolizes balance, and the holistic nature of goal-setting. These shapes calm the user in any configuration, and promote the quest for harmony in a positive way, even when the orbs are out of balance.


The shapes emit light that soothe and engage the user. These glowing spheres generate feelings of ‘awe’ and ‘possibility’ in the user. Color is customizable to personal taste and association, creating a connection between the user, interface, and sculpture.

HARMONY acts as a visual representation of the user’s well-being: if one prong lifts up and the other two remain all the way at the bottom, the user can see that they perhaps are overemphasizing one life sphere at the expense of others. Thus, users are inspired to find more balance by focusing on the other goals they set for themselves in other realms of their life. 


Presentation Slides



Penedo, F. J., & Dahn, J. R. (2005). Exercise and well-being: A review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18(2), 189–193.

Pinker, S. (2014). The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier. Random House Canada.

Zhai, K., Gao, X., & Wang, G. (2018). The Role of Sleep Quality in the Psychological Well-Being of Final Year UndergraduateStudents in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(12).

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Tobias Haefele March 25, 2020 - 1:53 pm

I really like the concept and the underlying insight around self-care in itself becoming a chore, so bringing them all together seems like a great idea to me. Your design is also very soothing, I love it!
I would love for you to further explore how to connect the differnet themes, such as, if I missed out on a few hours of sleep, what is my “best alternative”, e.g. making a cup of tea, taking a break, having an ap, or, if I haven#t exercised, what else can I do? Use a standing desk, take the stairs etc. something like that could be a really cool addition!

Su Yang March 25, 2020 - 1:53 pm

The app looks beautiful! I also love the physical component of having the sculpture mirror the user’s progress in real time. I think it’s really clever how rather than having people track their goals in terms of concrete numbers and data, users can see their progress relative to previous days. Something I’d be interested in learning more about is how exactly progress tracking works–do people position the spheres in the app relative to how they felt the day before? Also, what happens if the user has a downward trend for too long? Does the app intervene at all/try to encourage the person to keep up with their goals in some way?

Donagh Mahon March 25, 2020 - 5:46 pm

This is redesigning the to-do list, in a sense. I love it! As I imagine is the case with most of us, I always have a lot to get done and I generally use some kind of to-do list that I check off as I go. What I appreciate about a to-do list is getting things out of my head on to a piece of paper. However the downside is that often the list can be quite anxiety inducing. Even adding a check mark can leave me feeling overwhelmed when I see that it hardly makes a dent in the mountain of other things to be done. Limiting this goal tracker to 3 things is a great move. What’s more is that a calming orb of bluish hue makes me feel less like this was something I “just had to get done” and more like a positive experience I went through… if that makes sense! Great work!

YUNING ZHANG March 25, 2020 - 9:26 pm

Honestly, I didn’t expect to solve the three essential components problem before I see your post. This three-dimensional visualization of the individual’s well-being is stunning and easy to track. You’re bringing the inside of people outside, and making those invisible part of us visible. For the selection of customized important life categories, I wonder if it’s a chance to inspire more people by making the personal selection visible to others (anonymously maybe).

Annabelle Paterson March 25, 2020 - 11:05 pm

I really like the idea of this and the reasoning behind it but I don’t know how I feel about the movement component. I think it would be super cool as a light-up art piece on the wall that worked with the app in the same way. The colors and graphics are super effective in your presentation/app

Nourhan Shaaban March 26, 2020 - 12:34 am

This is beautiful. It is something I imagine myself wanting to have and recommending to friends. It is calming and nice! It also brings together different elements within wellness, and visualizes our state. One thing that would worry me is when someone feels down – or is depressed perhaps – how would this help the person rather than simply reflect back that things are not OK?

Sally O'Keeffe March 26, 2020 - 1:42 am

I really love this for multiple reasons. Obviously it helps people see their progress in a more tangible way which also reminds them to reexamine their daily choices. But it also creates a talking point if a friend visits you and sees this really cool sculpture. As someone who is obsessed with all sorts of lights in different colors, I really want one!!!!! It would also be cool if you could offer the sculpture in different sizes. Maybe a much smaller desk one about the size of a hand targetted more towards university students, a medium-priced one about the size of a lamp, and then a really cool large floor lamp sized sculpture. I can imagine people who have a lot of money and are interested in art, as well as personal well-being, would be interested in having a really large one as a sort of centerpiece.

Ying Zhang March 26, 2020 - 4:29 am

Really inspiring idea! I did not expect to categorize my life into three categories before. The design are really simple but powerful and inspirational. The light and rendering are really nice. I would definitely get one if it comes to real. Both a good art installation and a good life tracker!

Adam Gordon March 26, 2020 - 4:54 am

I really love the visceral quality of this project, but I wonder if the movement could be less predictable, resembling a kinetic sculpture. The colors seem muted and calming, which is a wonderful effect. It’s fantastic to see a visualization of the invisible, but like others, I wonder what happens after downward trends.

Emily Koch March 26, 2020 - 6:21 pm

Wow! This is a product I would love to have exist in real life. The design is beautiful, engaging, and exciting. I think it confronts the importance of self-care in a non-invasive and healthy way. Not overwhelming the user, but interacting and reflecting the user and their behavior. Overall, great work on this, would love to use it myself!

Wendy Yu March 26, 2020 - 8:44 pm

This is SO awesome! I wonder if you could add a social component to this as well (without overcomplicating this). For example, you might want to be able to check in on your family members’ or friends’ sculptures to make sure they’re doing well and have been living a balanced lifestyle.

Nan Yang March 27, 2020 - 1:32 am

It is such a brilliant idea to combine a Goal tracking app with a decorative lighting ornament. The statue is so elegant and straightforward. What is more exciting is how it reach a “harmony” comparing to conventional tracking app by eliminate quantitative records and visualize the data in a loose visual format. So that it effectively reminds one’s time and energy spent on essential components of life, meanwhile not making people too stressful. The customization of colour and shape of the lights is also very considerate.
I would want to know more about how the users could input their daily activities into the app more specifically. Hopefully, it could be not as tedious as other apps. Please realize this design!

Margaret Sun March 27, 2020 - 3:28 am

This sculpture is so cool! I love how HARMONY combines goal tracking apps with a physical reminder of progress. I appreciate the subtlety of the sculpture too: some goals might not be something we want written on a huge post-it, and having them represented by the spheres allows us to remain flexible about how we think about goals, too. I’m wondering about the scale of the sculpture, and if it can be made sustainable. Perhaps the lights are solar-powered, and capture energy for continuous glow at night. Depending on the scale, I could also see the sculpture taking different shapes: maybe the next version allows the user to create the shape, or choose from versions that might fit more comfortably in a home (e.g. a table or desk mat with lighting spheres gliding along the surface, a rectangular flat model that attaches to a closet, door, or mirror and has spheres rising up, etc.).

Eleanor Blum March 27, 2020 - 3:38 am

I love this design so much–you guys reminded me of an experience in high school when our school brought a sleep specialist to assembly who gave a presentation on how detrimental it would be for any of us to get less than 9.25 hours of sleep and sent the whole school up in arms because we felt like it was hypocritical of the school to offer that message when it would be literally impossible to keep up with our school work and extracurriculars on the schedule he was suggesting. For all of the lack of wellness in popular modern habits, there is so much alarmist instruction demanding that we prioritize one aspect of wellness over everything else in a way that sets people up to abandon the whole project. I really think this idea of embracing the tradeoffs between and the combination of a number of personal goals makes a lot of sense. I think one further possibility is to add a social component where a group of people could embark on a challenge together.

Gabe Ziaukas March 30, 2020 - 12:00 am

I would definitely use this platform. I think it is of utmost importance to live a balanced lifestyle…too often we let things slip. I would potentially consider expanding the concept wherein one might be able to make more than three spheres, or perhaps a function where a user might be able to set the equivalent of “balance goals” so they are achieving something.

Lauren Toman April 5, 2020 - 5:20 pm

This is beautiful and if it was on the market, I think I would buy it. I love that the sculpture is dynamic and customizable and doesn’t seem to take up too much space. As someone who likes to update apps about my life to keep records and see how I am doing over a period, this would be something that I would like to use due to its calming and unique physical representation. What would happen if the user does not update the app? Would the sculpture respond to that? Just some thoughts since I know people get very excited when they first download an app, but sometimes can loose engagement especially if they feel that they are not doing well in their own life.

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