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Noctura Diabetic Retinopathy Mask Practice Research

Eye Mask

01   /   07   /   2018

Imaginative empathy and use of Somatic perceptions in the designing of a therapeutic mask for Diabetic Retinopathy

This research is from a collaboration with Noctura over a two year period. It explored the design, development and making of a Sleep Mask to house a non-invasive light based therapy for the treatment of patients with diabetic retinopathy. The 2 part therapy consists of a Pod which contains organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and a soft cushioned fabric mask to house the hard structured Pod. The relationships, discussions and problem solving surrounding the felt experiences of all the stakeholders were important in trying to redesign the mask to elicit greater compliance in wearing during sleep.  

Alfred Margulies in his publication The Empathic Imagination, talks of Keats “negative capability”. He explores Keats' interest in empathy and his pursuit in the ‘goal of feeling himself into the reality of the other, as if to illuminate the object contemplated from within.’

To this extent I aimed to elicit clear felt experiences about each person’s somatic understanding in the use of the mask. It was also important to understand the Noctura team. I volunteered my own personal felt experiences in medical and individual circumstances to allow for meaningful open dialogue that was not restricted to the normal formalities of a business meeting.

The relationship building and congruence in this collaboration aided in understanding the patient and different sensibilities to illness, the body as subject and the body as object leading to Imaginative Empathy

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