Wellbeing in Prisons

A collaboration between art, engineering, and business students, this semester-long project focuses on integrated design with a theme in the Internet of Things (IoT) and wellness. Our team chose to focus specifically on opportunities the US correctional system.

Research & Ideation

Due to the lack of access to stakeholders in the correctional system, we relied on podcasts, articles, interviews, and one inmate contact to provide context as we began drafting value propositions, ideating, and reaching out to stakeholders and others working to improve the system.
We used the Mobile Matrix framework crafted by The MEME Design to generate ideas individually and as a team.
To narrow, we each championed a particular project direction and "pitched" rough product concepts to each other. Using a decision matrix, the team ranked concepts on: being a good learning prompt
team interest/ "compelling-ness"
appropriateness for IoT applications
risk of safety breaches, poor social/ethical consequences

Prototyping and Testing

We began prototyping two concepts in parallel:

BLOCKS: Internet-connected strategy game creation platform for inmates that would provide a tactile creative outlet and mental exercise for inmates, and allow COs to better understand their wards

COLLABORATION HUB: Inmate-shared kiosk that allows for artistic collaboration between inmates and visual artists online and Youtuber musicians

Final Concept

After several interviews with over 10 correctional officers, academic experts, and people preparing for the end of their sentence, our team conceptualized a nonprofit service that plays on the notion of a "network of things". With phone and Internet access so limited in prisons, we wanted to offer a creative outlet that generated a visible presence outside of prisons walls. As it happens, drawing is one of few well-respected talents in prison and supports healthy self-expression. Our concept, MoreThanStripes, publicly displays artwork that is mailed to us. With electronic displays and Internet connectivity, we can share these visual stories on public, physical spaces ranging from the back of phone covers to public wall and art displays.

Project Info

Skills

  • integrated design
  • design for extreme constraints
  • prototyping
  • ideation
  • iteration
  • wellness
  • IoT