Santa Monica College


As a team we designed a smart ring called Nootro to help employees with their stress management.


Design Researcher, Product Designer, UX/UI Designer


Primary & secondary research, ideating, brainstorming, wireframes, prototyping, 3D modeling, presentations

Project Timeline

8 Weeks

Design Challenge

Design a wearable device that detects signs of employee burnout, provides insights, and offers strategies to minimize stress levels.‍


Many employees have experienced burnout at some point in their careers. Burnout leads to disengaged employees and is costly to companies.


59% of individuals who have been diagnosed with burnout are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.


Nootro, a fidget spinner smart ring that coaches employees how to have better stress management in their everyday lives.



The pandemic has forced many people and many companies to re-evaluate what “work” looks like. In the time when most knowledge-based work is done from home the productivity has grown and meetings became more inclusive. At the same time the number of those meetings has increased and all the workers, on all levels of the hierarchy, complain about the “Zoom fatigue.”

Goal: Re-evaluate what knowledge based “work” looks like and imagine a better way to work.

Project Objective

The project brief asked to re-imagine the collaborative process. A person needs to be stable and present to collaborate productively. 

It’s impossible to be present when you’re in a stage of burnout. 

Therefore, by solving the problem of burnout, we are, in turn, re-imagining the collaborative process as one that involves healthy relationships, enthusiasm, resilience, and fully present team members.

Target Audience

Males and females 26-50 years old working 40+ hours per week and have an annual income of $120,000+. (Think founders, CEOs, engineers, developers, members of independent VCs, and directors) 

The platform empowers teachers to create a project-based learning virtual environment. A Smart Assistant API will be integrated to help moderate and share information based on learning material without the use of the internet.



  • The average American employee works 47 hours per week
  • 18% of full-time workers work 60+ hours per week
  • 2 in 3 employees (66%) work while they're on vacation
  • Burnout leads to disengaged employees, who cost employers 34% of their annual salary
brainstorming session
initial sketches
initial sketches


Ear Cuff

Through our rounds of presentations we realized designing an ear EEG was not feasible for measuring stress levels in employees.

Some limitations we ran into with an ear cuff design were its small size, limitations of sensors, and catering to a wider audience.

Smart Ring

A smart ring can have a variety of sensors to measure employee’s levels of stress. We also wanted to design something that caters to a wider audience. Some employees might not want to wear an ear cuff.

Why a fidget spinner ring?
59% of individuals who have been diagnosed with burnout are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Product Design

Physical Prototyping

We each prototyped the ring using different materials to showcase the fidget spinning mechanism.  The different materials we used included plastic, cardboard, and clay.

The charging docks were put together using a variety of materials. Our goal was to design a wireless charging dock that could be used with different ring sizes.

Low-fi prototype made with a plastic water bottle top designed by Crystal
Low-fi prototype of ring made with clay

Ring Mechanisms

  • Spin ring for fun or use it as a remote to play in app games.
  • Spin ring 3 times to activate a pomodoro timer. Customize timer settings can be found in the app.
  • Shake hand 3 times to cancel anything on the ring.

3D Modeling

Exploded view designed by Miguel

Tech Specs

  • Gyroscope Sensor
  • Battery (Rechargeable lithium-polymer 3.7 vdc battery)
  • Haptic Motor Driver
  • 3-Axis Accelerometer
  • Galvanic Skin Response Sensor Electrodermal activity (EDA) & skin conductance (SC)

Ring Materials

Outside: ultra-light titanium alloy with a scratch-resistant coating. 

Inside: medical grade biocompatible plastic with steel and gold plating on the charging contacts.

Mobile App Design

Mobile UI Notifications

While the Nootro ring is measuring data from its users the compatible app will make sense of this data and send meaningful insights to the user where they can learn more info about how to have better stress management.

Mobile UI notifications

Mobile UI Feedback

Before feedback

The initial UI felt overwhelming to people and evoked feelings of anxiety

After Feedback

We simplified the UI by reorganizing the layout and softening the overall look



  • The power of irony, we got burnt out doing a burnout project
  • Learned a new skill = 3D modelling


  • Working collaboratively was difficult as we all have different schedules. Luckily we were able to work together during the product design class.
  • Delegating tasks for team members and splitting the work up was also a challenge.

Future Possibilities

  • L.E.D. morse code messages
  • Apple Watch integration
  • Addiction & behavior change
  • Real life coaches through the mobile app