Empathy Lens

Distance spanning solutions & redefining relations in healthcare


What will Rural Nordic healthcare look like in 2030?

What should future healthcare look like from a design perspective? Medical technologies are developing every day, and people are increasingly interested in their health and well-being. In turn, digital apps and wearable devices that manage peoples data are also becoming more popular.

Amid this increase of interest, this healthcare project began with the challenge of medical coverage for the increasing elderly population in the rural area of Västerbotten. To solve this demographic change and bridging large distances, digital technologies have emerged as innovative alternatives.


Empathy lens is a healthcare device for remote doctors who need interact with their patients more closely and understand them more holisticly. It focuses on patients with bipolar disorder because of their increased need and importance for close monitoring. Through an empathy lens, doctors can monitor patients’ mood and data statuses more often and easily in order to direct patients to prevent their moods from getting out of hand.


In this project, I was responsible for, conducting primary first-hand research, creating valuable stories, creating clear communication in a culturally diverse team, prototyping Arduino for a proof of concept, and UX/UI design.

Project details

6-week project
Professional Product 1

Västerbotten county
Nordic councel of ministers


Speculative design
Distant healthcare
Mental health
Mood tracking


Jelte Knossen
Hyunjin Shin
Karolina Malara

Field research

In this project, we were invited to the rural hospital of Storuman in västerbotten county in Sweden in order to find out in person how it is to live in such a remote part of the world and to understand the whole picture of life in a rural area.

Storuman municipality in perspective.

Entering The rural village hospital.

Testing out current distance spanning solution in the emergency room.

from the insights of doing research, we noticed that there was an opportunity in creating a device that could address that there is no clear overview of patients. The written reports from the healthcare sector about patients are often too unclear and can span from ten to one-hundred pages, often mainly filled with text. This makes it hard to create an overview of a person let alone create an empathetic humanistic picture of the "file" you are dealing with.

In our view, patients are often viewed as numbers rather than humans. To help the doctor in creating a holistic humanistic view of the person they are dealing with we started designing a patient management system that centred around the mood of persons suffering from bipolar disorder.

Creating valuable stories

In order to communicate more clearly and understand what was happening to our users, it was important to contextualize what kind of situations our users are in or might end up in.

user journey for hybrid doctor (online and offline practices).

Oneshot video about future user journey. (no audio)

Ideations with tangible media

Visual tools like post-it notes. lo-fi prototypes, drawings and user journeys helped us to communicate in a team on a deeper level than was possible due to verbal communication.

Explination using lo-fi prototypes

E-lens concept

Data entering and leaving visualization of E-lens

Representation and context in doctors enviroment

Patient overview

Mood data screen

Contact screen

Creating the E-lens: Lighting with Arduino

Exploring light effects related to activity of the patient non active vs active. (sped-up)

Exploring diffuse light effects.

Mock-up for physical reprisentation on doctors desk.