Grounding Pebble

Hardware and software that teaches emotional regulation techniques to young adults

Project Type

Bachelor’s of Design Thesis Project

Product Role

Product Designer


Figma, Illustrator, Photoshop, Procreate, and Blender



Mental health had a sharp downturn during Covid-19. People struggled with managing emotions and coping in increasingly unprecedented and strenuous situations. Many would benefit from gaining coping skills for unpredictable situations, even outside of a pandemic.

How can we teach people to use mental health tools to better cope with and manage emotionally charged situations?


Grounding Pebble is a physical device and mobile app that helps people emotionally regulate by learning, and practicing grounding and stimulus exercises.


Mental wellness research

This was my Bachelor’s thesis project and we had a full semester to do research. I researched what emotional regulation was, the techniques to do it, and how mental health professionals taught their patients.

Sources of information

  • Academic Journals
  • Scholarly Articles
  • Psychology Textbooks

This information is gated for patients through mental health services, although it could help people in their day-to-day lives before they are unwell.

Barriers to mental health services

  • Shortage of mental health services
  • Long wait times
  • Concerns about stigma
  • Inequities due to geography or demographics
  • Cost of services


  • Emotional self-regulation, mental health and physical health are linked.
  • Emotions affect the body and vice versa. This can lead to a vicious downward cycle if the person does not have healthy and functional coping mechanisms.
  • Dysfunctional coping mechanisms increase the possibility and can lead to depression and other physical health issues.
  • Grounding and stimulus exercises are coping techniques we can purposefully learn and practice to help self-soothe. Specifically, breathing retraining is a very effective and accessible solution.
  • Teaching people these tools to deal with daily life and major stressors will help them deter any serious mental and physical health repercussions from occurring

Market Research

My target audience is adolescents to adults, ages 14 to 30. Although these exercises are useful for all age groups, this age group deals with a lot of life changes, transitions and adversities that can be challenging to manage.

Competitive Analysis

I researched health devices that came with a companion mobile application and stand-alone mobile applications. These products help with physical or overall mental health through meditation and creating healthy habits.


Based on my research I ideated a small device that someone can hold on their person at all times and can be more useful while they are in situations with elevated emotions. The device is small so it is portable and concealable. The user could squeeze the device to trigger light, audio and/or haptic feedback that would help the user maneuver through their chosen grounding techniques. The mobile application would teach the user about emotional regulation and techniques.


Low Fidelity mockups

I sketched the physical device on paper, then mocked up prototypes out of clay to figure out the shape, size and thickness of the device.

Sketches using pencil and paper
Clay prototypes with varying shapes, size and thickness

3D Model

I learned how to use Blender to create the 3D model of the device.

High Fidelity Mockup

User Manual

To help show the functionality of the device and think about the onboarding experience, I wrote a user manual for the device.

User manual wireframe
User manual final mockup


Along with the hardware piece of my idea, I created a companion mobile app along with it that would teach the user how emotional regulation works and visually the exercises they are learning.

User Flows and Information Architecture

Based on my user persona, I created goals and user flows to help flesh out the features and application experience. I created an information architecture of the application and listed its features of the application from them.

User flows
Information Architecture

Low Fidelity Mockups and Wireframes

I sketched wires for the mobile application and initial sketches and ideation for the companion device. I then mocked up the wireframes on Figma.

App sketches
App wireframes

High Fidelity Mockups

Practice guided grounding and stimulus exercises

Maintain the physical body to help the mind and emotional wellbeing by practicing grounding or stimulus exercises. Follow along with the Pebble's haptic feedback or lights to maintain a soothing tempo.

Customise your Pebble

Save favourite exercises to a Pebble and edit as needed. Add more devices to keep in different bags and for assorted use cases.

Gain knowledge about the body and brain

Learn all about emotional dysregulation, how grounding or stimulus exercises can help and how the body affects emotions and vice versa.


View website prototype

Final Outcome


I enjoyed being able to put a good amount of time into research at the beginning of the project. Unlike most school or hackathon projects, I was able to put a few months of research into the topic and this allowed me to find more solutions that I wouldn’t have initially thought of based on preliminary research.

Because I decided to make both a physical device and an application, I did not have as much time as I would have liked to create the final product. If I were to redo the project, I would do more user testing.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating a realistic timeline for my work to manage my time
  • Deprioritizng portions of my project that are not necessary for an MVP to meet deadlines
  • Making information accessible and synthesizing it for my target audience

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