The Netherlands – Aiki is a sensory, doll-like object that is designed to reduce trauma and fear for children receiving medical care.
Created by designer Josephine de Fijter in collaboration with the Charlie Braveheart Foundation and studio Bibi van der Velden, the conceptual object is able to ‘cuddle’ the child and produces rhythmic breathing exercises to help them relax as they receive treatment. Aiki also changes colour to match the breathing tempo of the patient, providing doctors and nurses with visual cues to better understand the patients’ current emotional state; for example, shorter breath would indicate an upswing in stress levels.
While helping to offer a sense of relief during medical examinations, Aiki's design also aims to increase trust and empathy between children and and their doctors. 'The main aim is to bring autonomy back to the child by giving them a method of expression,' explains de Fijter.
With its cushiony shape, Aiki shows how integrating sensorial aesthetics can humanise healthcare, something we explore further in Soft Aid.