Stress balls have never worked for me. Maybe I’m just too blessed to be stress! Or, additional realistically, a squishy ball just does not cut it when dealing with the pressures of life in an growing universe. German developer Simone Schramm has created a new stress ball that adds a techno touch to the time-honored catharsis toy and she’s relied heavily on 3D printing to do it.
Schramm’s Stress Ball is intended to provide users with feedback related to just how stressed their feeling. But quantitative data, the developer appears to argue, just magnifies stress levels. For that reason, the Stress Ball does not provide numbers, but intuitive, haptic and visual data. Users stroke and press the ball while an external sensor measures skin conductivity, in turn inflating an internal balloon that presses against the individual compression springs of the 580 small, 3D-printed knobs to expand in relation to the user’s stress level.
Schramm writes of her project, generated for her Interface Design master thesis at Fachhochschule Potsdam, “The length of the nobs reflects the intensity of the stress level. Through actively touching, pressing or stroking the object, the user rapidly starts to sharpen his or her tactile perceptual ability and to associate various surface conditions with his or her individual stress level. When the colored nobs expand, their movement changes the uni-colored surface into a multicolored sculpture. The effect underlines the emotional accessibility and the three-dimensionality of the product.”
Whether or not it relieves stress is complex to say, but it’s pretty a soothing looking device. It is presence alone can just allow you to relax a bit.