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Movement profoundly 
improves quality of life for
heart disease patients.

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Tempo guides personal, safe exercises for people with heart disease

Tempo is a smart monitoring system for cardiac rehabilitation outside of the clinic. The system improves the cardiac rehab experience for patients with heart disease by bringing treatment home, allowing patients and doctors to see improvement through statistics, and optimizing the benefit and safety of exercise by adjusting exercises in real-time.


The initial prompt for this project was to design a home medical device. My interpretation of this prompt drew me to creating something that would treat the patient long-term and help form healthy habits. 


Industrial Design Senior Studio

Fall 2018 | 9.5 weeks

Solo project

Sponsored by

My role: research, problem framing, storyboarding, user journey mapping, competitive analysis, ideation, prototyping, CMF, SolidWorks model, KeyShot renders, photography

Tempo Splash

"Heart disease accounts for a quarter of all deaths in the U.S. every year."

Heart disease is often caused or worsened by lifestyle habits.

The solution has to promote habitual change.


Cardiac rehabilitation is proven to help heart disease patients have increased life expectancies and improved quality of life. Tempo takes this program out of the clinic, making it more accessible on a daily basis for users, longer lasting than the typical 3-month program, and equips users with the skills needed to keep themselves safe during exertion on a day-to-day basis.  


Tempo guides users through exercises while tracking, storing, & interpreting their body signals.

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Two wearables & an app complete this home rehab system.

Accessibility is key. A smart pendant and pair of bone-conduction headphones are all patients need to connect to the Tempo app on their smart phone and start moving.

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Doctors and patients are connected  through messages, face time, and live tracking biological signals.

Cardiac rehabilitation is proven to help heart disease patients have increased life expectancies and improved quality of life. Tempo takes this program out of the clinic, making it more accessible on a daily basis for users, longer lasting than the typical 3-month program, and equips users with the skills needed to keep themselves safe during exertion on a day-to-day basis.  

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Guided exercises respond to
body signals in real-time.

To optimize safety and effectiveness of exercises, Tempo monitors EKG, heart rate, and step count in real-time—adjusting the intensity of exertion to keep heart rate in the ideal range of the user. 

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Problem Framing

The research phase began with a prompt, to design an "at home medical device" for patients with a specific disease. I opted for heart disease due to the fact that it claims the most lives in the U.S. every year, and is widely viewed as a lifestyle disease. 

Research surrounding heart disease was completed alongside two of my classmates, Kat Hazen and Perry Burke. After gaining an understanding of the major problem areas, we designed our own products, but maintained a continuous conversation around how to design for heart disease patients best. 


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Problem Statement

The Patient Journey

Journey map designed and constructed based off of the research I gathered on common patient journeys for people with varying kinds of heart disease. This map was then used to determine areas of need. I identified post-hospital management as my area of focus due to the important divergence in quality of life at that point depending on the success of treatment.

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Starting by producing napkin sketches based on the prompt delivered by the Tactile team, I used research and feedback from the team to determine some of the ways to best aid heart disease patients and distilled it all down to create Tempo. 


Phase 1: Napkin Sketches

A wide range of initial ideas around improving condition, lifestyle, and response to cardiac issues.

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concepts taken to the next stage of development

Phase 2: Concept Sketches

Concepts developed and extracted from initial napkin sketches based on feedback. 

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Phase 3: Refined Concept Sketches

Three concepts refined and developed with the idea of movement and exercise assistance at home for heart disease patients.

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Phase 4: The Initial Concept

The initial direction taken was a system of wearables that simulated cardiac rehabilitation in the home or on the go. This concept began as an arm band, pair of headphones, and charging hub for organization and to encourage adherence (where will people be most likely to be reminded to use product? - where they keep their keys, wallet, phone, etc.) Concept developed to a more useable form for demographic. 

Existing Product Forms

My thinking around the forms originated with the idea of combining a wearable with an audio guide. What came from getting a better understanding of who the users are (age 40+, at risk of further heart problems and incidents like falling or injury) was a concept born from two existing forms that would lend themselves to user safety.

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Visual inspiration and research around form, CMF, and existing medical products. 

Phase 6: Refined Ideation

Refined ideation around the concept, wearability, and aesthetics. This phase was followed by further refinement in SolidWorks and Keyshot 7.

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Rapid CAD Iteration

Rapid CAD iteration around using different isolated languages. Ultimately, the goal was to create a friendly-looking, stylish system of products.

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Mining a Unique Form

I began by rapidly iterating different headphone forms, as this is an existing product. Combining inspirations lead to favoring a form that used primitive, pure shapes and lines. 

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Making a Matching Language

Rapid CAD iteration around using different primitive shapes in the design. Ultimately, the goal was to create a friendly-looking, stylish system of products.

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Final Form + CMF

Final form and CMF combines soft form with an active appearance. Designed to feel comfortable and cool, Tempo is a new way of bringing wearable technology to patients.

Product Details

Main features and functions of the Tempo pendant, headphones, and app. 

Step Count

Subtle light interface on the Tempo pendant signals step count progress toward the daily goal. The daily goal is set by the Tempo companion app in collaboration with the patient’s health care provider.


EKG Monitor

Throughout the day and during guided exercises, patients are periodically prompted to press two fingers against the electrocardiogram monitor. This interaction—inspired by the action of checking pulse on the neck—establishes the electric current needed to get a meaningful reading of the heart’s electrical signals.

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Optical Heart Rate Sensors

Optical sensors on the inside of the pendant wearable monitor heart rate throughout the day and synch up with optical sensors on the headphones during exercise to establish more accurate readings. 

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Emergency Alert Button

Emergency alert button sends out a GPS signal to nearby emergency services. 

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Companion App

The Tempo app connects patients to their doctors through messaging, displays trends and statistics, and provides guided exercise according to gathered signals from the Tempo wearables in conjunction with the exercise plan made by the patient’s medical provider.

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Main Hardware Breakdown

Bill of Materials:

1  nickel plated copper finger pad electrode

2  copper conduction plate

3  polypropylene housing

4  magnet fastener

5  ABS

6  TPE over mold

7  glass top shell

8  LED lens

9  optical image sensor

10  printed LED circuit board

11  LED array

12  printed circuit board + accelerometer

13  speaker

14  brass plated nickel micro usb port

15  printed circuit board GPS tracker 

Internal components of the Tempo Pendant showcasing the mechanisms for the electromagnetic cardiogram monitor, optical sensors, and emergency alert system. 

Product details
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