Berk Ilhan Design
Product & Experience Design

Thesis Blog

The personal blog of my MFA thesis journey, consists of diagrams, system maps, frameworks of Information Architecture, and early prototypes.

Posts tagged making
Smile Mirror

Smile Mirror is an emotionally smart mirror that becomes reflective when it detects a smiling face. The purpose of Smile Mirror is to create a delightful personal moment, by surprising people with the reflection of their powerful smiles. 

Smile Mirror is one of the many award winning delightful inventions of Berk Ilhan. Inspired by the life and work of the real Patch Adams -the doctor behind Robin Williams' Patch Adams movie- Berk focused on creating experiences and products for cultivating joy. Learning from the numerous studies and research about Positive Psychology, and specifically that smiling elevates your mood and reduces stress, Berk created the playful and interactive mirror that encourages people to connect and engage with their reflections, as they are smiling. 



Smart Smile

How could design bring more smiles into daily life?

Smart smile is a smart switch that could be attached to electrical appliances. Communicating with the smart wall plug, Smile Switch could turn any kind of appliances to smile-triggered systems. For instance, you can make a cappuccino by smiling. It provokes users to smile more often.

According to the facial feedback hypothesis facial expression could change how we feel. Smiling is a powerful tool to reduce the stress caused by an upsetting situation. It's a mindset and a choice that one makes to decide how to approach to a circumstance. Could objects be a reminder of this gesture? It's an explorational project.

Emotion Necklace

Emotion necklace helps patients, doctors and hospital staff to visually express how they feel in order to understand each other and have a better communication. Using a color code system provides a quiet design language without embarrassing the users. Each color translates to a certain feeling such as anxious, angry, grateful, tired, confused. The concept emphasizes the importance of empathy in the context of healthcare.

Laughter Frame v.1

As a part of the Design Delight journey with Emilie Baltz, I tested my experience idea in order to see people's reaction and feedback outside in public. The purpose of this experience is to create an interactive game that provokes laughter. The frames that I and my classmate Steve Hamilton are using have switches to attract people to the interaction. The goal of the props, in this case, frames are to create a focus on the faces so that we can look at each other and pass on the laughter. Some take away from the test are that the positioning of buttons has a huge role in the interaction, doing it as two people is better than doing alone and having a naturally smiley face is better than a neutral face.

Next steps are prototyping again and testing it out with people outside. Knowing that Friday March 20th is the international Happiness Day I am very excited to take this experience to the Central Park next weekend.

Laughter Device

After imagining a device that would provoke its users to laugh, I decided to prototype this idea very quickly in order to try it with real people. With the original rendering that I made (the first image) my aim was to dream a collaboration between Philips Healthcare, Jimmy Kimmel and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The purpose of this collaboration is to provide patients with a magical headset that makes them laugh as they use. Emphasizing the important health benefits of laughter , the idea is to bring laughter as a therapy to the cancer patients, most of who suffer from depression due to cancer related experiences.

In order to test the concept, I downloaded Google Cardboard layout from Google, then I manipulated the size and the shape to create a different experience. Afterwards, I chose several entertaining and funny videos such as cats and laughing baby videos. Then, I opened these videos on my phone and placed my phone into the cardboard prototype. 

I tested the prototype with approximately 10 people from different ages ranging between 24-32. Similar initial reactions were; excitement to engage with the product, dropping the chins, disassociating self from the physical environment, engaging with the stimuli at a high level. Some of them expressed their feeling as "being in a movie theater", "forgetting where actually I am."

These observations showed that the laughter device would actually make people laugh. Therefore, hypothetically doctors could prescribe "laughter" to their patients.

Next step is to test it with patients in clinics. This week I am meeting with a physical therapist in order to explain the idea and kick off the patient test.

Lens of Branded Objects

Approaching thesis through the lens of branding helped me to understand the essence of it and what kind of purpose, positioning and promise that Uplift offer to the audience. I built the brand pyramid and decided on the hierarchy of the visual, sentimental, logical and spiritual aspects of the objects that I designed within this frame-work. Deciding on the appropriate color palette and materials leaded a better visual representation which matches the core senses of the brand.

Talk to Me

"Love and caring are critical tools for helping patients get better. If it were a form of medication, we would prescribe it." says Ronnie Nathan, Chief Barker of the Variety Club.

Hospital visitations are very important for in-patients. Seeing a friend or a family member helps a lot for recovery. Talk to me is a voice recorder device that enables patients to capture the joyful moments from guest visitations and re-listen them. By picking one of the colorful interactive sticks and plugging it into the base, the user starts recording a personal voice message to his/her loved one who is sick. Thereafter, the patient could tap on each stick and listen to those heart-warming messages when they are alone in the hospital room. 

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Speculative Object #1: Smooth Syringe

Smooth Syringe is one of the speculative object concepts developed to question and re-think the existing experience of going through frustrating healthcare experiences. Asking the question of "What if the syringe was not that scary?", Smooth syringe concept was developed to change the perception about syringe. It hides the needle by showing a smooth and harmless shield to patients.