More details please use a laptop.


System for Wheelchair Users' Behavior Change

Design Project 2018 | 4 months 
Industrial Design, University of Technology Eindhoven, NL
Skill: user experience design, empathic designbehavior change, healthcare, programming & electronics

Team: Marit Proper, Emma Reiling, Samantha Galvez

Cooperation: i2-CoRT, Adelante

The Sitbit system includes the sensor mat, wearable, user application, and therapists dashboard. The data from the sensor mat is collected and can be analyzed to create a personalized feedback system. In this project, we investigated the intuitive design to provide reminders for wheelchair users with spinal cord injury, which could lead to a behavior change in a long-term run.



Desk Research & Interview

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The desk research mainly focused on getting familiar with the specific users, medical context and the client (Adelante). After the first brainstorm, we visited the Adelante rehabilitation center in Hoensbroek and interviewed the therapists, the ideas derived from the interview were immediately embodied into physical prototypes and showed to the client. 

Patient Journey

Due to the specific and special target group, the traditional user interview and field study method in the early stage is quite useful. Afterward, we created the patient journey to better understand the rehabilitation process of patients and found out which stage we can implement our concept.​​

Patient Journey_Zitpoli.png

Empathy Map


Being in a wheelchair is a visible handicap, the social pressure could reduce the intention, therefore the wearable should not be as a medical instrument that makes the users get further discriminated and deterioration. By this, we also add new meaning we created is: it is a pleasurable accessory, which does not embarrass the users showing to people and can be a conversation starter. As the major factor influence behavioral intention, we add more “personal agency” to the product, or so-called personal autonomy, which is one of the most important aspects derived from that empathy map and also listed in Hassenzahl’ s book based on Sheldon et al.’s theory [1] [2].​

The System

We aimed at changing their sitting behavior in the long run by generating an intrinsic motivation. We proposed Sitbit wearable provides interventions in two stages: subtle vibration and LED display. Between these two stages, users have 10 seconds to realize their sitting problem and proactively change their position. However, due to the limited time, we did not conduct a convincing user test showing that Sitbit can change users’ behavior in the long term. In our case, it is even possible to structure and evaluate UX in a time span of a lifetime [3].


Based on the data, the wearable gives the users real-time feedback, which enables them to be aware of their seating problems and autonomously decides to change their posture. It could simplify the function - no overwhelming data and distractions.


The phone application which makes the progress visible to the patients themselves, which only shows the necessary positive feedback instead of overwhelming information. This application also offers the option to communicate with therapists.


The dashboard takes full advantage of the data collection and designed for the therapists to show detailed information of the wheelchair users.  This also enables more efficient communication between patients and therapists.

Prototype Making

The final Prototype of Sitbit wearable is built based on an integrated LED matrix and vibration motor, which are controlled by Arduino UNO. A joy sticker is integrated to simulate the input from the sensor mat.





This project allows me to grasp knowledge about health-related technologies and the huge potentials to change traditional healthcare industry. I went to the rehabilitation center and talked with the therapists, which gives me a deeper understanding of the role the designers should take in the industry. During the project, we integrated design for behavioral change into our concept.
My main goal was improving my skills in the expertise of technology and realization. As expected, I was able to work on the code and electronic part of the vibration bracelet and the final functional prototype with my teammates.

[1] Reon Brand and Simona Rocchi. 2011. Rethinking value in a changing landscape: A model for strategic reflection and business transformation.

[2] Rens Brankaert. 2016. Design for dementia : a design-driven living lab approach to involve people with dementia and their context Citation. TU Eindhoven.

[3] Craig Bremner and Paul Rodgers. 2013. Incremental and Radical Innovation: Design Research vs. Technology and Meaning Change.