Israel’s Holon Institute of Technology is conducting a special track in its industrial design degree with Joy Ventures, with students developing product ideas for emotional wellbeing.

Israel’s Holon Academic Institute of Technology (HIT) is known for spawning successful consumer products through its work with students. Its cooperation with corporates has brought to market everything from developmental toys for babies to measuring instruments.

In the current session, the students in Adital Ela and Yaniv Brafman’s third year course in industrial design faced a new challenge: creating a consumer product that would lower stress and increase happiness.

“We decided to focus our work in this course on ‘breath’,” says Adital Ela, Senior Sustainability Design Lecturer at HIT and TED Fellow. “Regulating breath is one way of lowering stress and inducing calm.  We defined as our objective to develop consumer products that guide people in regulating their breathing, developing helpful breathing habits, and doing it through play – creating a pleasant experience for the user.”

The cooperation with the industrial design department at HIT is a perfect match for helping us at Joy Ventures achieve our goals,” explains Dr. Hagit Alon, VP Scientific Affairs at Joy Ventures, who constructed the course together with lecturers Ela and Brafman.  “Because the neuro-wellness arena is still in its infancy, it’s important to expose future entrepreneurs and developers from early on to the great potential that exists in this field, and to begin the ideation process.”

In addition to providing stipends for the students for prototype materials, as well as prizes for the three winning directions which will be selected at the end of the course, Joy Ventures also brought leading visiting lecturers to present the latest developments.  These included Rani Gara, a researcher who is studying the way brain pathways are connected to creating new habits, Chemi Geffen, a senior biofeedback therapist, and Dr. Vered Pnueli, a researcher specializing in the design of online games.

In the first stage of the course, the students defined their target audience – urban millennials, a group known to experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety in their everyday lives.  This target group is concerned with emotional wellbeing and is looking for solutions.  The students are currently developing their ideas, which will culminate in working prototypes by the end of the course.

“We are excited to see what this talented group will come up with,” says Miri Polachek, CEO at Joy Ventures. “Since we partner with very early stage teams, it is certainly possible that a brilliant idea from this HIT cooperation will develop into an initiative that we can fund, support and bring forward – until it reaches the hands of consumers.”