Tracey Guieb BenifiSence
LecturersJason Mitchell, Yueyun Song, Rodney Adank, Lyn Garrett
BenifiSense is a jacket that aims to prepare adults with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) for environments where they may be prone to sensory overload. SPD is a neurological condition that prevents parts of the brain from processing sensory information correctly. Commonly linked with ADHD and autism, SPD affects as many as 15-30% of people.
SPD presents uniquely in each individual. Any single sense, or combination of senses, may be affected. Individuals may find tags and seams on clothing unbearable, certain smells and odours sickening, lights uncomfortably bright, and may find it difficult to filter out background noises from what they want to hear. There is a misconception that adults have simply "grown out of" their SPD. In reality, out of the scarceness of suitable solutions for their condition, they have simply developed habits and mechanisms to cope. Current products on the market for SPD are mainly designed for children (fidget toys, bulky compression clothing, ear defenders etc.), aren’t very discreet, and draw attention to the user.
BenifiSense addresses this by catering for the senses in a discrete and non-disruptive way, allowing the user to interact with the jacket when and how they want, depending on their individual sensory needs. BenifiSense is user-centric and is highly sensitive to the uniqueness presented in SPD. Interactive elements of the jacket are coloured white (associated with peace and clarity), to serve as a visual cue to the user. The hood regulates sound, using damping foam layered under a sound blocking polyester outer shell. Slots inside the hood allow the Bluetooth speakers to be inserted and adjusted to mask unwanted noise. The soft visor can be folded out to protect from harshly lit environments. Scented bead pouches can be inserted into the pockets inside the mouth-covering, minimising triggering smells and odours. They can be sprayed with personalised scents that are soothing to the user. The breathing holes of the sleeves serve as a visual cue and reminder to practice the 'Triangle Deep Breathing Technique' when feeling overwhelmed. This motif also features in the back yoke and mouth-covering, indicating areas of breathability. The lining of the jacket minimises the usage of seams that may cause discomfort. Moisture-wicking polyester mesh is used on the panels of the yoke and arms to provide adequate ventilation where it is most needed - areas prone to overheating and sweating when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. The inverted pocket placement allows the user to 'self hug' and apply deep touch pressure on the torso - a practical and effective comfort mechanism when feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed. The pockets are lined with soft velvet. Warm and comforting to the touch, it is reminiscent of a soft toy - a familiar and nostalgic comfort tool. The bottom hem of the jacket features a bead maze, allowing the user to fidget in a discreet and non-disruptive way. The bead is pushed around through the corners of the hem, helping the user focus by providing an outlet for excess stimuli.