Project Inspiration: Em-Cube

Rika Matsubara-Park - Mon 2 March 2020, 12:06 am
Modified: Tue 3 March 2020, 6:34 am

I spent the weekend coming up with some slightly less impossible designs for the pitch and project. I began with a rough ideation of different ideas on paper, then made a more elaborate mind map, and spam of different concepts that popped into my head.

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After discarding many ideas, I eventually ended up with something called the Em-Cube.



The process began with wanting to target the challenge of mental health in physical computing. Mental health may be one of my greatest interests, alongside birds. With the concerns of people misdiagnosing and avoiding help at all for their problems, my mind was brought to mood-tracking apps on phones. I personally haven't used any myself, but


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Em-Cube is a small portable device that allows you to track and measure different emotions with greater precision. With the rise of products focused on health and well-being, there are still many challenges in the mental health sector. Em-Cube brings a new layer of interactivity to mood-tracking, utilising tap and slide, fitting its functionality into a small cube that can be carried around without the disruption of a phone. The concept comes in three parts. The first is the basic functionality of the cube - Tapping on one of the flat edges turns on the device, and tapping twice turns it off. Tapping on the other flat edge allows the user to swap between negative and positive moods. Each face of the cube represents a specific emotion, associated with a colour, and can be selected by tapping it face-down on a solid surface. Users can slide the cube to record how intense their current emotion is, which is indicated by the strength of vibration.

This concept has been inspired by the psychological evaluation systems in the Blade Runner films. While the Em-Cube can’t identify if someone is a Replicant, it targets the issue of misdiagnosis; this cube allows users to track their moods, with the addition of a reader that can be utilised by a therapist or counsellor. It further allows users to actually remember the different moods they experience over a day or week, and recall either happy moments or things that brought them down. The colours allow users to see an overall summary of their moods on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis, and whether there are improvements or unfortunate declines in their moods, which can further be discussed with a therapist or even shared with friends. Em-Cube enhances everyday life for those who want to keep track of their mental well-being.


As mentioned in the pitch, I was inspired by the psychological evaluation tests in the two Blade Runner films. Referred to as the Voight-Kampff Test, and the Baseline Test, the psych evaluations ask the user questions, and their answers are analysed to detect whether they are a Replicant or not. It sparked some thoughts of how humans are unable to really analyse a person's mind, especially when it comes to themselves. In a therapy session, users don't analyse themselves, they are evaluated by recalling emotions and events, and having the therapist provide a diagnosis or form discussion around it.


The shape was inpired by fidget cubes, which I have bought before for a friend. They are compact, easy to handle, and small enough to put into your pocket. They're easy to access and really you can use it in most situations. My initial idea was to incorporate the fidget sides to the Em-Cube, however that became a bit of a chore to achieve.

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Furthermore, the cube was originally called a "Mood Cube", which was so generic I swore there had to be something out there that already existed. And I was correct. Mood cubes didn't really work with the mental health of a person, and didn't hold much in regards to interactivity. The mood cube is simply a soft glowing lamp that calms users down with different colours. I decided to incorporate that into my product, as the use of colour can be effective in representing different emotions.


mental health pocket-sized cube moodtracking