Magic Pen is a tool used to quantify our subconscious physical reactions and some conscious reactions to subject matter. This information is then used to produce 3D, computer generated objects that are 3D printed. These objects are then used to inform and frame therapy and counselling sessions that will help revolutionise how we approach mental health.
The Magic Pen utilises the emotional and psychological input of the user combined with the intuition and skill of a therapist or social influence.
How does it work?
Twist the case to turn on the wireless communication and then, simply, express yourself!
The Magic Pen is simply facilitating expression. The user is encouraged to write or draw about an experience or person that has influenced their life and then let the pen do its magic. The simplicity of this act enables the Magic Pen to be used at home, in counselling, or alongside pastoral care in schools.
We have subconscious psychological interpretations of the world that affect us physically.
The physical symptoms of embarrassment, as our face becomes red and we begin to sweat, is a result of our psychological interpretation. The physical feeling of butterflies within our stomach, when we are nervous or excited, is an example of our psychological anticipation. These everyday sensations are simple examples of how our psychological interpretation of the world affects us physically, but excessive psychological stress throughout our lifetime can have a big affect on our physical health in later life, as shown in the image above.
We can’t read minds and quite often we don’t even know how we feel ourselves. Therefore, the Magic Pen gathers quantifiable data about our physical reactions that are side affects of our, subconscious, psychological interpretations of the world.
Our psychological interpretation elicits a physical response and, when in use, the Magic Pen is discreetly gathering these physical responses from the users body. Information such as heart rate, galvanic response, and the pressure applied on the point of the pen are all valuable pieces of information that could inform us as to how the user is subconsciously feeling.
In combination with this, the Magic Pen application is recording the choice of colours used and the surface area covered in colour. After this, the therapist or social influence that is facilitating the session will input information such as descriptive words and adjusting the current presets, using their intuition and skill, to create a 3D model that best represents the illustration provided. The combination of the data collected from the pen, the ease of adding descriptive words and the ease of adjusting presets within the app makes the creation of the 3D model simple. The algorithm created takes the information provided and generates these forms so user does not need to understand CAD modelling techniques.
The abstract 3D forms
How we interpret the world around us is extremely subjective, therefore, providing objective data such as an increased heart rate, to the user, is not an effective form of communication.
In order to effectively communicate the results to the user, a method that reflects our subjective lives was needed.
As humans, we are big kin-aesthetic learners and respond well to visual metaphors.
Communicating the results to the user with the raw data would not have been an effective way to progress, which is why the abstract 3-dimensional forms are created. The forms are designed in a way that use human-like features, tapping into the imagination, whereby everyday objects take on human attributes. In this case, to embody body posture and facial expressions which we subconsciously recognise and perceive meaning from.
Other features, such as the feeling of the sharp edges of a faceted lofted surface in the users hands would indicate a negative, high arousal state, whereas a smooth lofted surface would be much more positive. Features such as a small surface area in contact with the ground and a top heavy profile will evoke a reaction of high arousal or tension, whereas a bottom heavy profile with more surface area contact would be much more calming.
What do you see? What do you feel?
The ability to not only visualise the the data represented, but to feel and hold the form, is vital. Receiving the form through 3D printing, as feedback, provides instant gratification for the users expression, but it also provides a platform on which to build, inform and frame therapy and counselling sessions. The user will subconsciously recognise and perceive meaning in certain features within the forms and they will be encouraged to utilise this intuitive perception to provide a subjective interpretation of what the forms may represent as a reflection of themselves.
Further exercises could include painting the forms to facilitate colour therapy, as the user repeats the process multiple times they could collect multiple forms to display a timeline that would enable them to visualise their progression, the forms can be used as a vehicle of non-verbal communication with others and the user could also smash or dispose of their 3D form as a way of moving forward and overcoming this obstacle in their life.
Long before children can put their complex feelings and thoughts into words, they can express both conscious and unconscious thoughts, wishes and concerns in their drawings.
Drawing about your life or an event can provide a lot of information as to how the user is doing psychologically and combined with the quantifiable physical data, gathered from the Magic Pen, a counsellor or therapist can begin to frame a very clear picture as to how their client is feeling. These types of exercises are particularly effective with younger children and below show 4 re-created drawings that would illustrate 4 different psychological states and their associated 3D form.
Elated / Excited
The above illustration depicts the user playing with a ball on the grass. Some characteristics from the drawing itself would generally indicate a positive theme with a positive facial expression and hands out-stretched.
High pen pressure was applied which is shown in the large blocks of colour and a raised galvanic response was also detected, which could be a sign of the user subconsciously responding to the thought of running about the grass playing with a ball.
When plotted onto the valence graph, we can see the overall reading was high arousal and positive. The 3D form then also reflects those same readings, showing similar human characteristics of out-stretched arms.
Serene / Relaxed
The above illustration of a family conveys common themes of warmth, emotional closeness, togetherness and limited tension and disorganisation. Positive facial expressions, hands out-stretched and the scene takes place outside. Each family member is also differentiated appropriately and everyone is depicted as a group.
Lower pen pressure was applied which is shown in the restraint of applied colours, with clear thought being applied as to what colours used and colouring in-between the lines. A low galvanic response was recorded which could be a sign of calmness when thinking of their family life.
When plotted onto the valence graph, we can see the overall reading was low arousal and positive. The 3D form then also reflects those same readings, showing a balanced and smooth rounded profile. ‘Buddha like’.
Depressed / Lethargic
The above illustration of a family conveys characteristics which would indicate a dysfunctional home. The separation of one member of the family is an indication of environmental stressors and a disconnect. There is a lack of facial expression and hands are shown down by their sides.
Lower pen pressure was applied which is shown in the lack of colours, with possibly a lack of interest as to what colours are used and a lot of empty white space. A low galvanic response was recorded which could also be a sign of disconnect when thinking of their family life.
When plotted onto the valence graph, we can see the overall reading was low arousal and negative. The 3D form then also reflects those same readings, showing a smooth, sagging profile. Showing human characteristics of rounded shoulders and their head down. A very negative body posture
Nervous / Stressed
The above illustration of a family conveys characteristics which would indicate a dysfunctional home. Illustrating one member exaggeratedly small in comparison to the other family members, closed body postures, missing limbs and facial expressions are characteristics of tension.
High pen pressure was applied which is shown in the heavy-handedness. A lack of colours are used and a lot of empty white space. A high galvanic response was recorded which could also be a sign of tension when thinking of their family life.
When plotted onto the valence graph, we can see the overall reading was high arousal and negative. The 3D form then also reflects those same readings, showing a sharp, faceted profile. The human characteristics of raised shoulders and a closed body posture can be seen within the form reflecting nervousness or stress.
Research & Development
Have a look through my research report for an in-depth look at how I came to this point.