In Buzzies, we’re designing bilateral stimulation tappers which will serve as therapeutic devices that originated in a therapy called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). A bilateral stimulation tapper is a device that will vibrate in an alternating manner on either side of the user’s body (in our case handheld), which will trigger the biological mechanisms associated with REM sleep. Research suggests that bilateral stimulation is useful in stress management and emotional regulation. While this technology exists, it’s largely unavailable to the people who need it most because of its high price point. This committee developing our own tappers that we’ll be distributing to local high schools and Ohio State students. In order to fund this project and reach as many people as possible, we’re working with a $25,000 grant from the Ford Community Challenge.
Mechanical: The mechanical team of Buzzies is developing the physical pods that the user will be holding, as well as a case to hold the circuit board and batteries. This involves designing SolidWorks models, communicating with vendors, and brainstorming/prototyping new and innovative solutions to hold everything together. We’re nearly ready to begin production on all of the parts that we’ve designed, and we hope to begin implementation by the start of next semester.
Research: The Buzzies research project delves into the impact of bilateral stimulation (BLS) on short and long-term mental health. BLS is a core tenet of EMDR therapy, and while the benefit of EMDR (which entails BLS and cognitive therapy) on PTSD has been clearly established, little research exists on the impact of the BLS portion alone. In our study, we will follow 50-100 college students in an OSU-based research study for a month; they will use the BLS devices on their own accord, and DASS (depression, anxiety, and stress scale) ratings will be compared at the beginning and end of the month. Additionally, a shorter-term study will look at the impact of our BLS devices on immediate stress ratings (before and after an acute stressful stimulus).