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period.

'period.' is the first smart period calendar designed for home use, aimed at aiding women in tracking and comprehending their menstrual cycles. It features a voice assistant named Luna, which enables verbal communication between the user and the device. Users can utilise this feature to track their cycles, input personal data, and inquire about period-related topics at any time they desire. The product also includes means such as light and numbered days to explicitly communicate where the users are in their cycle just by looking at it.

September 2023 - May 2024

Individual Project

The University of Edinburgh

Menstruation affects half of the world's population, yet there is a noticeable lack of products addressing this topic in the market. 

"period." is available in both copper and brass versions to allow users to choose the color that fits their aesthetic preferences.


The design also offers both hanging and desktop options to ensure users can place the product in their house as they please.

The metal fan is engraved with the cycle days, and an indicator on the edge points to the current cycle day of the user. The fan moves every day to keep the cycle up to date.


Its form allows for days to be folded away and unfolded to customise the length of the cycle based on the user's unique needs.

A light illuminates the edges of the fan, changing in a gradient to inform the user of their current phase of the menstrual cycle just by looking at the product. The light changes from red to indicate menstruation to orange for ovulation.


However, users have the option to customize the light gradient, choosing from pink to blue or green to orange.

The product features Luna, a voice assistant that helps users track and understand their cycles. Luna is activated by using the wake word "Luna" and can answer menstruation-related questions and provide personalised feedback based on the user's data.

The product is accompanied by an app that allows users to access all functionalities on the go or when they prefer not to use voice commands. The app presents all collected data visually so users can interact with it or compile it to share with their doctors.

 

The app is designed to complement the product's aesthetic and feel like an extension of it.

Context

Electronics

Making

Development

Menstruation affects half of the world's population, yet there is a noticeable lack of products addressing this topic in the market. Apart from tracking applications, women have very few options for effectively monitoring and understanding their menstrual cycles. Furthermore, there is a scarcity of engaging devices designed to assist women in navigating their periods and gaining insights into their bodies throughout their cycles.

 

The following resullts obtained from research conducted on 50 women during Autumn 2023, indicate the need for the development of devices that enable better menstruation tracking and understanding. The results also suggest that users would trust artificial intelligence and voice assistants to assist them in tracking and understanding their cycles.

Development

Electronics

Making

Context

The first aspect of "period." that was developed was the product's form. A circular shape was chosen as women predominantly associate the menstrual cycle with a circular form, finding it more intuitive for visualizing its progression. Additionally, an accordion fan form was implemented, recognizing its potential for modularity to track irregular cycles.


After creating and testing several prototypes, this concept resulted in a calendar comprising 35 days and 70 folds, with days 21-35 representing the gap between the shortest and longest cycles, equipped with magnets for folding away unwanted days.

The hanging and desktop options of the design were also explored. Initially, only a hanging option was considered, but it was decided to provide both to accommodate different user preferences. Through prototyping and testing, multiple designs offering both options were explored.

 

Ultimately, the version with a semicircular handle proved to be the most efficient, allowing the product to lean on it while maintaining stability. This option also enables the product to be hung flat on the wall when the handle is closed.

Electronics

Development

Making

Context

For the functionality of the product, the current prototype utilizes a Raspberry Pi 3+ model connected to a Servo motor, a Neopixel, a microphone, and a speaker. It is important to note that for the actual production of this product, a customised PCB will be required.

The Raspberry Pi was coded using Python to answer a series of menstruation-related questions based on user input. By utilizing the microphone and speaker, the device allows for real-time verbal communication between the device and the user. After enabling the device with the wake word "Luna," users can ask questions such as "When will my next period come?" and "What phase of my cycle am I in?" Based on these questions, the code identifies the user's cycle day and adjusts the Neopixel light and servo position accordingly. The cycle day and phase are automatically updated daily to keep the device synchronized.

The functions of this product are currently in a proof-of-concept state, and the development of a more advanced AI system will be required to achieve full functionality.

Making

Electronics

Development

Context

The manufacturing of "period." was divided into two parts: the making of the base and the making of the metallic fan. Birch plywood was used for the base due to its lightness and sustainability, ideal for mass production. The wood was cut and sanded into a circle, and drills were used to create cavities for electronic components and other details such as ventilation holes and cable channels. The brand and an indicator arrow were engraved on the wood, and the edges were sanded to ensure stability when placed on a desk. Finally, the wood was painted, and the electronics were placed inside, with additional components such as the hanger attached with screws.

For the handle, 0.8mm Aeroply was used for its flexibility. The aeroply was cut into three strips and laminated together with wood glue to achieve the required bend. After painting, the handle was attached to the main base using screws and washers, allowing it to slide in and out.

The accordion fan was constructed using 0.8mm copper and 0.5mm brass for their foldability and durability. The cycle days were engraved on the edge of the metal using a metal engraver, and the metal was then folded by hand. Magnets and a dowel were attached using epoxy, allowing the fan to rotate and enabling the folding and removal of extra days.

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