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MY "bEST seLF"

Veerle van Wijlen | Master Industrial Design | TU/e

Welcome to my Masters Industrial Design portfolio!

My name is Veerle van Wijlen, a second year Master Industrial Design student at the University of Technology Eindhoven (TU/e), The Netherlands.


In my work, I aim to empower and socially integrate people who are affected by mental health issues and as a result restricted to participate in everyday life—I want to enable people to be their "best self" in society.


Make sure to check out my main design (research) interests, expertise, projects I have worked on and highlights of my current work.



I have mainly worked on projects that addressed service design, design for mental health support, and personalization design processes. Therefore in my past projects and courses I have gained expertise in these main areas:


In previous projects I have collaborated with several non-profit organizations in the field of mental & social health and elderly care.

Moreover, I have done two internships, one as design intern at a design studio in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and the final one, my own design research project as preparation on my final master project, at the department of clinical psychology and psychotherapy in Giessen, Germany.

Furthermore, recently one of my designs has been exhibited at the online exhibition of the Dutch Design Week at the Drivers of Change from the TU/e. Some examples are:

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Multi-Disciplinary Design Research
Supporting Mental Health


van wijlen

|Final Master Portfolio

Talki Talkie On Dutch Design Week

"Talki Talkie is a product-service system that empowers elderly to communicate their opinions through voice agents."

Recently one of my designs, Talki Talkie, made together with design partner Chia-Hsiu Liu, has been exhibited at the online exhibition of the Dutch Design Week at the Drivers of Change from the TU/e. 

Talki Talkie is a product-service system that empowers the elderly in care homes towards choosing what they eat. A personal voice agent gives notifications of the food production process. This raises transparency and enhanced communication. Through a non-intrusive and slowly breathing light ring, the elderly get to know the circumstances of their food. Sound playback and voice recognition enable easy communication about food choices. Additionally, caretakers can provide feedback on the residents’ choices through a corresponding digital platform.


Skills learned in this project:

  • interactive experience programming

  • leading co-evaluations

  • creating service blueprints

  • quick prototyping

  • context inquiry and service related user research methods

  • visual presentation


A Physical, Expressive and Multisensory Drum Tool Changing The Perspective on Relaxation for People With High Levels of Anxiety

RELAX-CHANGE is my most recent project which I have recently investigated in the context of clinical psychology and psychotherapy in Germany. 

Within the context of mental health, and especially within the anxiety spectrum, a common ‘mental issue’ is worrying and rumination, in other words, repetitive negative thinking. This highly restricts these people in daily functioning, each in their own way, such as in sleeping or concentrating at work. Current methods, focused on calming/soothing relaxation techniques, do not suffice for everyone to break their anxiety cycles.Therefore, there is a need for accessible tools that support relaxation in a “different” way than existing methods, to help a larger group of people within this anxiety spectrum. RELAX-CHANGE is a physical drum instrument that provides a new and specific way to support people with anxiety in relaxation, on a daily basis. Therefore, with RELAX-CHANGE, people with anxiety can flow into relaxation in a very expressive way, through expressive drumming on the instrument, in which they are supported by light and sound in the drum that engages them in play, keeps their attention and triggers their multiple senses. By building up towards a peak in expressive drum play (building up tension), and releasing their created tension (de-stress), the design allows for optimal distraction, letting go of negative thoughts and emotions, and leads to a relaxation state. The design has the potential to be used at home or in therapy sessions.


Skills learned in this project:

  • more in-depth experience and interaction programming

  • leading focus groups

  • in-depth knowledge about designing for mental health, psychology and psychotherapy interventions

  • concept development for complex, multi-stakeholder problems


From September 2020 till January 2021 I have investigated the design opportunities of RELAX-CHANGE within the context of psychotherapy practice, research and other fields of clinical psychology. In order to explore the potential of the novel design probe to add value in clinical practice and research. To in the end support anxiety patients (and beyond) in relaxation; therapists; clinical outcome research and to highlight the boundaries to future implementation of tangibles in psychotherapy.


The design research centered around semi-structured interviews with 11 participants in the clinical field, which were transformed into clinical and design implications around tangibles in mental health. Participants covered the new generation of psychotherapy researchers and therapists, namely clinical psychology students (BSc/MSc). Furthermore various clinical psychology researchers participated with expertise in meditation, child & youth psychology and therapy efficacy. Last but not least, cognitive behavioral therapists were involved. In parallel, a high level prototype of RELAX-CHANGE was created to support future clinical experiments.


In general it is found, psychotherapists and researchers are open minded towards new technologies and the design probe can even extend horizons, however individual patient’s and therapist’s needs have to be considered. Moreover, design qualities as ‘accessibility and flexibility’, ‘visible direct feedback’, ‘engagement and absorption potential’ and ‘playful musical approach’ have potential to add value in clinical contexts. Moreover, the probe’s ‘educative and reflective’ qualities, ‘measurement’ qualities, ‘connect therapy with daily life’ quality and quality to ‘fit with the relaxation needs from therapists’ shows its potential to stretch the boundaries of the use of tangible design in mental health.

The resulting clinical and design implications  contribute to supporting a larger part of the anxiety spectrum in relaxation and beyond; increases the intervention space for clinical practitioners / researchers; and enhances mutual understanding amongst designers, psychotherapists and researchers.

What are the opportunities, positioning and benefits of  tangibles like RELAX-CHANGE
in psychotherapy research and practice contexts for relaxation support and beyond?
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Design research to make designers and clinicians benefit from a mutual body of knowledge around tangible design in psychotherapy

Other project highlights

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In the last 4,5 years I have worked on many projects within the design field of mental & social health, elderly care, and education. But also on some other projects to increase my knowledge and skills in the areas of experience design, materiality & tactiles, and design for behavioral change. Do you want to know more about this? Click the button down below. 



Interested in one of my projects, expertise or would you like to collaborate? Please, don't hesitate to contact me!
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