Conceptual Sketch

This is the first conceptual sketch for the pod. The exterior will be made of bent wood and the interior cusions will be stuffed material with a sponge base. The 'door' to the pod will be a slider made of bendable ply wood that comes up from one side where it is stored, this side will not be able to be entered, and slide along groves along the rim of the opening to clip down on the other side at any one of several differeant possitions. this is to provode people with claustrophobia the option of not sealing themselves in completely. Another option we are providing people with claustrophobia is that of a frosted opaque whit second screen so that they can still allow light into the pod and not be surrounded by darkness as this is a trigger for some peoples claustraphobia.

Alot of thought went into the angles of the internal chair intself, it was imporatant that this was laid back enough to allow people to recline and relax (duh) but not so much that they would fall asleep.

The side that has the entrance wont have an arm rest, as opposed to the other side which will. This is to save space and allow people of all heights to get in and to also because having one arm elevated slightly higher than the other is supposed to increase relaxation.

Relaxation positions

When wanting to create an area where someone is relaxed, body positions is a huge factor.
We were considering creating a form in which someone was forced to sit in a particular  relaxing position according to the research below however this idea was cancelled out, as we thought forcing someone into a particular position could counter comfort and relaxation and actually become uncomfortable.
To combine these ideas we decided to compromise by creating the chair at certain angles to mean the user had to sit in a particular way, however without a body form involved, could also reposition themselves and create something that was comfortable for them.

The idea of having certain angles was derived from the reading attached.
This reading suggested common positions that muscles and shapes that people create when they are relaxed.

An example of this is the chin and head dropping yet still being in line with the body, the shoulders being rounded and horizontal while resting against the chair, torso, hips and legs are symmetrical an din the midline of the body while also resting against the chair and feet are pointed away from each other at an angle between 60-90%

Stress research- Light justification

We wanted to incorporate some features into our design that would help create increase and improve the calming sensations and relieve stress. when researching into the ideas behind stress we found breathing to be a major contributor to relieving stress and a sign of some one who is stressed.
according to Harris, Katkin, Lick and Habberfield breathing controlled at a calm, steady pace and is inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 4 seconds helps calm and relax people and will have a positive effect on ones mindset.
We decided we could use this technique inside the pod through the use of a light.
Inside the pod a light at each end will fade on and off at 4 second intervals creating a smooth harmonious light in which the user will respond positively to, and breathing will automatically relax and follow the pattern of the light, creating a less stressful and relaxing environment, perfect for the relaxation pod.
We looked at either having a rim of small lights, or big lights and placements. We decided against a lot of lights and small lights, as it could end up creating a rave like atmosphere. instead we have settled on one or two, big lights, placed either at the head and foot of the pod, or one placed in the middle on the side.

Current designs

Looking into current designs and the forms that these relaxation devices take and how effective they would be.
One of the main aesthetics we have seen in our research is the space age styled device, which is something we are looking to avoid as we want to create a device that can blend with the workplace environment around it.  
This design here illustrates clearly the position that the user will be sat in. This is something that we are considering in our design, as it will be a key factor in the relaxation of the user.

This design uses a screen around the head to create a darker and more private and secluded environment for the user. Seclusion is a big part of relaxation and creating a relaxed mood.

This form is interesting but leaves a large open space that wouldn't exclude the user from the workspace, thus not fully relaxing the user.

Caustrophobia research

One our first concerns in creating this design was catering to the percentage of people who suffer from caustrophobia and how we would combat this issue.
Caustrophobia is the fear of being trapped in small spaces and according to "Phobias: A Handbook of Theory, Research and Treatment" (Wiley) between 15 and 37% of the world population are affected by caustrophobia, and is usually caused by an experience in which the person involved was younger and felt unsafe. 

unfortunately not much can be done to target or help the claustrophobia once in the pod as the main thing to do when someone is starting to have a panic attack and such, is to get them out of the small space, which wouldnt really work for our pod.
f we have to seal the pod, it needs to customisable so that each persons individual comfort levels can be catered for, perhaps using multiple layers of of materials, this means that the lid or top would most likely need to be made of a softer, lighter material, as the heavy material is more likely to induce the feeling of being trapped.

Initial idea

The design that I have chosen to present is the stress relieving pod design, as I this is something that effects over 70% of people around the globe.

This Shows some statistics about stress and the losses from it.
I believe this is a serious issue that needs addressing.

The start

Our group of Dylan Hughes-Ward, Mishayla Retimana, Ben Buchanan-Smith, Faitasi Talamaivao are looking at the idea of a relaxation pod or space that will could be placed in office environments where most people encounter stress as a way of distressing in the office environment.