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Loneliness. An awful feeling that unfortunately exists in today’s world. Humans enjoy the presence of others and, though sometimes hard to admit, benefit from someone around in times of great stress. In today’s world, people do not always have a shoulder to cry on when they need it, especially now due to the physical limitations of Covid-19. The goal of our team for this challenge was to find a way to give those suffering people the warm hug they desperately are in need of. Our solution is The Anxiety Vest.
The Anxiety Vest is a health care product that can be used to help people that suffer from social anxiety. It’s a vest that can be worn under one’s normal clothing and provide comfort in moments of stress. By simply pressing a button in times of stress, the user will activate the vest’s comforting mechanism. The comforting mechanism works through a set of motors which gently pull on paracords woven into the vest in order to softly apply pressure to the user. This, in a sense, works to simulate a weighted blanket or a nice hug. The motors are selected to be able to apply pressure and pull the cords however not equipped with enough power to strangle a human being. Additionally, the button can be pressed once more to undo the vest as an emergency stop to undo the vest. The vest is simply a thin layer of clothing that is no thicker than a tank top with more potential to be reduced in size by using smaller motors, or a different material for the vest. Even the current prototype allows for the vest to be worn over or under current articles of clothing to be able to be put on quickly, and be put to use when needed as soon as possible.
This vest has a number of possible enhancements that can be made in order to suit the needs of the individual more closely or overall provide an even greater comfort experience. Due to the requirement of this invention being a prototype, we decided to use a thin zipper vest as it is what would be most accessible to others. However, this design can be implemented into other articles of clothing including pants, jackets, hoodies, shirts, sweaters, or even a full bodysuit. Another possible enhancement could be the downsizing of motors. By downsizing the motors and possibly intertwining the fabric with the motors, the pressure created by the motors can be designed to closely resemble a hug or a weighted blanket. Lastly, a heart or voice sensor can be connected to the vest (from a fitbit or with a built in device) to automatically apply the comfort process in case a person is unable to press the button.
Creators: Anthony, Adam, Gabe, Ashraf