When children are sick, all they need is companionship from their loved ones. In times of a pandemic outbreak, young patients have to be isolated in emergency rooms until they have recovered. I led the design of a medium that comforts young patients and reconnects them to family members.

Project Type: Concept Design
My Role: Interaction  Design, User Research
Collaborators:  Collin, Kaiting, Ryan
Timeline: 2 weeks

How would you comfort a young patient during an pandemic outbreak?

Since March 2014, West Africa has experienced the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. Although health organizations in the States has been developing plans to confront potential pandemic outbreak, there have not been enough solutions that speak to children's emotional needs.

Therefore, we designed cute, cuddly Teddy Bears which can connect to hospital wi-fi to relay parents' voice messages to young patients in a physically comforting medium.




Expert Interviews Findings

We interviewed emergency room physician Dr. Phil Green. He provided key information on how hospitals handle pandemic situations.

 Ebola has a high mortality rate (61%)

Ebola has a high mortality rate (61%)

 Ebola is transmitted through body fluids

Ebola is transmitted through body fluids

 Ebola is extremely infectious

Ebola is extremely infectious

 Ebola patient's family will be quarantined for 21 days.

Ebola patient's family will be quarantined for 21 days.



Experience Map




After consulting nurses from Seattle Children's Hospital, we generated two personas: children and parents.  




Design Themes

The design should provide emotional comfort for the young patient.

The design should fit in hospital sanitation procedures and minimize the chances of cross-contamination.

The design should be accessible, with minimal mental and physical effort.




We brainstormed 60 potential solutions.



Concept Selection

We first picked the top five ideas that met the requirements of comfort, safety and accessibility. After evaluating the top five ideas, "Teddy Bear" becomes the most ideal solution.




System Map

The cloud service receives voice messages from parents and forward them to the modem system.





Although we designed for an Ebola outbreak, TeddyBeddy is ideal for any situations when young patients are isolated in hospitals. Based on hospitals' ecosystem, below are two implementation directions:

Modem system
The outer layer of TeddyBeddy could be destroyed or sanitized on a regular basis, leaving the modem system intact. When a child patient arrives, the nurse could set up the modem system with the child’s patient ID. 

Assist child life specialists
Many hospitals have Child Life Specialists. Their roles include explaining a child's diagnosis and provide emotional support. TeddyBeddy could be great assistive tools for Child Life Specialists. 

optional service charge
Hospital emergency room could implement TeddyBeddy as an optional service charge. Since we could reuse the modem system inside the bear, parents only need to pay for the stuffed toy and cloud service fee.