Indian in US devises collapsible chamber to manage panic attacks

Washington, Nov 17: An Indian in the US has designed and fabricated a sanctuary that one can retreat into during moments of panic, in a bid to address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a widespread condition in America and the world over.
The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition, can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event. It could cause significant issues in the social life of a person and interfere with the ability to perform daily tasks.
Kartikaye Mittal, 32, who holds a master’s degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in New York, has created the prototype called Reboot, employing his knowledge of design and engineering, and combining it with his research in psychotherapy and wellness, according to a statement issued on Monday.
Reboot is a collapsible chamber that can be used by survivors of PTSD in moments of panic, and is intended to be installed in university campuses, hospitals, airports, malls and other crowded places.
The chamber alters sensory stimuli and creates an environment in which the person can manage one’s emotions without disturbance, distraction or aggravation.
It gives the user a personal space to retreat into when needed, to practice the therapeutic exercise prescribed by his or her therapist, to meditate, or just be, it said.
Kartikaye visited PTSD support groups in New York City and consulted psychotherapists as part of his research for Reboot.
He discovered that in a trauma-survivor, panic may be triggered at any point in time, especially when in a public place, where one doesn’t have immediate access to his or her therapist.
The drive to empower the user made him build several models, experimenting with material, size, shape and colour.
The telescoped space is 5 feet wide, 7.5 feet high, and depth extendable to 4 feet. The chamber collapses to merely 15 inches and can be instantly extended when necessary. The internal surface is designed to absorb sound, the statement said.
The primary objectives of this space are dampening the noise from the surrounding environment, spatial comfort, collapsibility and adaptability to available space in the buildings.
With inputs from clinical psychologists, Mittal was able to keep the look and feel of the structure benign and non-evocative. Neutral grey was the overall colour chosen for a muted look, it said.
Reboot is Phase 1 of Kartikaye’s initiative to create an aid for trauma survivors. Phase 2 is scheduled to commence soon under his STEAMplant residency at Pratt’s Math & Science department, it said.
Mittal, an alumnus of Delhi’s College of Art, has studied the effects of auditory, tactile and visual stimuli on the human mind using brain-computer interfaces. The data from these experiments inform his research and prototypes. (PTI)