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The intensive care unit (ICU) is both a working and healing environment, accommodating people with rather different needs and behaviours. Nurses, patients and their visitors all strive for recovery of the patient, but in order to do so patients need to sleep and nurses need to consult with colleagues or visitors. Due to the nurses’ auditory behaviour, the ICU is a bit too loud for patients to have a nap during day-time.

The main aim of my graduation was to design something that could lead to a behavioural change within the ICU, restoring a peaceful environment for patients to recover in.

Roel Redert


To balance sleeping time for patients and talking time for nurses, industrial design engineering graduate student Roel Redert and the company Quietyme (USA) developed Doplor, which was presented at the Dutch Design Week. Doplor shows the main contributions of sound disturbances in the ICU, which are measured by Quietyme’s sensors. With this data, Doplor creates an interactive painting, presenting symbolic growing waves and deeper darker colours when sounds disturbances increase. By making nurses aware of the auditory consequences of their behaviour, the time between these disturbances will be elongated. As a consequence, patients get in a deeper stage of sleep, making it more difficult to still be awakened by sounds.




How does it work?

The main interaction with Doplor is first seeing what is going on: what is the visualisation trying to communicate? When further interaction is wanted, nurses can walk up to it. A proximity sensor integrated at the bottom notices someone coming closer. Doplor responds by showing the title of the artwork, followed by a short description of what the visualisation actually means.

When the nurse wants to know what the main causes of the auditory disturbances are, she can get a graph of the sound levels of the past 8 hours by pressing the button at the left side of Doplor. It is also possible to actually understand what has caused all sounds, by scrolling the right weel at the right side and go through an infographic as if it were a large piece of paper.

Why the name Doplor?

The name Doplor came to mind when Roel witnessed an ambulance coming by from quite close. This remembered him of the Doppler effect: the loud sound of the ambulance muffles away when it has passed. The same effect of muffling noise in the ICU is envisioned with using Doplor. After introducing Doplor in the noisy intensive care, the sound levels should decrease gradually as well.


Graduation report