Ideation, Concept, Development
KAHU is a system of conscious remembrance for grieving youths who have lost an important attachment figure.
Losing a close person is one of the most stressful experience humans can have. Although it's something most of us have to face in our lifes, we lack the tools of dealing with it.
Especially on young children and teenagers the loss of an attachment figure can have an enormous impact, emotionaly, but also in their everday life. They find themselves in a situation, where they have to rely on the "surviving" part of the family, which themselves are in distress and their own grieving process.
We talked with experts like grief counselors and heads of support facilities for grieving youth – as well had the chance to speak with children, as well as older persons that went through a loss in young age. Supporting desk research and evaluations of recent studies gave us insight into a dramatic problem, that's not often talked about, and even less subject of product design.
When a loved one is lost, the familiar inner and outer world of young people is thrown into disarray. They not only have to deal with new, unfamiliar everyday situations, but also have to give the deceased a new place in their lives. Developing the role of the deceased in the mind of the bereaved is an essential aspect of coping with grief. KAHU starts at this point: It helps to establish the deceased as an inner companion.
Kahu consists of two main objects: The shrine and the braclet.
The shrine gives the deceased an appropriate place in the life of the user. It contains the beautiful memories of his life, not his death. In it, objects of remembrance can be stored.
The bracelet is used as an anchor in daily life. It is a sutle reminder of the deceased. When the bracelet is pressed, it responds with a gentle pulsation and light up. The close association with the memorabilia subconsciously conveys: "I am still with you. You can do it."
The user activates the shrine by means of the bracelet. This creates an association of the two objects with the conscious remembrance of the deceased and the contents of the shrine are kept safe. The active confrontation with the new life situation and the awareness of death helps in the mourning process.
We developed a first prototype, to validate the concept and get a feel for the use of it. The shrine opens and lights up, when the bracelet is put on it. The bracelet can be pressed to play its combination of light & soothing vibration.