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September 2023 - May 2024

Individual project

The University of Edinburgh


An estimated 2.5 to 3 million adults in the UK suffer from ADHD, an often misunderstood disorder which can strongly impact their ability to maintain focus, or manage their time, emotions and stress, in turn affecting significant parts of their daily functioning. 


Tot·m is a customizable fidgeting based tool for young adults with ADHD, intended to help them combat overwhelm and plan their time more effectively. As part of their daily routine, users assemble a tot·m representing their tasks for the day. Fidgeting with it will serve as a soft reminder system to help them manage their time, with the fidgeting itself further helping them relax. 


As people are often unfortunately still judged for having ADHD, the aim was also to create an object that feels special, and users can be proud of, reminding them they don't need to be ashamed of their difference.

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A user with ADHD wakes up, and is getting ready for the day. Once they feel ready, they go to the home base that contains their totm pieces. They take this time to consider what they need to get done, and associate these tasks with sensory bits. They place these sensory bits on the base.


This is their totm for the day, which they carry with them. If they get stressed, or start feeling overwhelmed, they can reach for it. As they fidget with it, they can be reminded of what they need to do, whilst also relaxing thanks to the fidgeting.

Sensory Bits Designs

The sensory bits are the core of the product; they are the pieces the user associates with their tasks, and the ones they fidget with. I needed to make sure there was a wide enough range of forms, material, colors, and overall characteristics to ensure optimal functionality for any user. 

I ended up with a series of 9 forms, divided into 3 categories: some more organic shapes, some more complex geometric shapes, and some simpler geometric shapes. I then made a range of these shapes out of 4 different materials: jesmonite, resin, silicone, and wood. These materials offered a wide range of different interactions (warm vs cold, soft vs hard, etc.), without being too much or making production unfeasible. Each material then offers its own variations (coloring jesmonite and silicone, embedding sand or rocks in jesmonite, color and playing with the opacity of resin, or using different types of wood, like timber and plywood).


The silicone, resin and jesmonite bits were cast using silicone moulds. The resin and jesmonite bits were then carefully sanded. to get a really smooth finish. The plywood bits were laser cut, glued together, sanded and varnished. The timber bit was sawed the central hole drilled, and it was then also sanded and varnished.


Bases Design

The bases are used to create a user's tot.m, and essentially transport the sensory bits throughout the day. They come in 3 different sizes that users can pick from. This is a way to reflect on how much time and energy you might have in a day. The size of the bases directly symbolizes this, with the longest base that fits 5 tasks being very slightly too big to fit in your hand. Users would be encouraged to consider whether they’re putting too much on their plate; a common issue with people that have ADHD.


The top comes on and off with a screw mechanism, which from testing came out as the best balance of simple to open and close, but also sturdy, so your tot.m can’t fall apart pulling it out of their pocket or their bag.


They are made of wood, as it is both a warm, comforting material, and one that is neutral enough to look good with any other material put next to it.


Finally, they have an integrated carabiner clip, so users can attach their tot.m to their belt, bag, etc. and facilitate transporting it, without having to be afraid to lose it.

Home Base Design

The home base is CNC milled from a piece of redwood pine. This allows for a minimalistic and clean single piece look. I wanted this as the home base needs to fit well with the sensory bits and bases, without taking the attention away from them, as they are the core of the design. In a similar logic, the wood used was chosen as its color fits really well with the wood tones of the base, and with the pastel and colors of the sensory bits.

The two main semi cylindrical grooves in the base are for storing and presenting the sensory bits, and the three circular holes for the bases and base topper. The idea is that whilst being relatively small, the home base gives a lot of room for users to grow their collection, without looking weird if they are happy with just the original pieces from their kit.

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