A wearable heat belt for people with endometriosis, a children's Māori pronunciation book, and a collection of projects for tiny homes are just some of the ideas rolled out by Massey University's design students.

The concepts are on display at the university's Exposure exhibition in Wellington, opening tonight.

Student Emma Thornton drew on her own experience of living with endometriosis to come up with the design for her heat belt, the Alleviare.

Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease which occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found in places outside of the uterus. Symptoms can include particularly painful periods, pelvic pain, and fertility issues.

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The heat wrap can be powered by a mains adapter or a portable phone charger. Photo / Supplied
The heat wrap can be powered by a mains adapter or a portable phone charger. Photo / Supplied

Thornton was only diagnosed with endometriosis in the last couple of years, after a year of back and forth with doctors.

In the meantime, she would struggle to even walk home while dealing with intense cramps.

"There wasn't many options regarding, like, how to cope with the pain," said the 21-year-old.

Common comfort methods such as hot water bottles or microwavable wheat bags often had inconsistent levels of heat and could only be used for a short period of time before going cool again.

From a survey of users of these methods, Thornton identified those issues and realised women wanted something that could also be disguised, "not that women should have to hide dealing with endometriosis or just having a menstrual cycle in general".

4th year Massey student Katherine Rybinski has designed a click-away dining table to provide tiny home owners with a dining area that can be easily cleared away. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
4th year Massey student Katherine Rybinski has designed a click-away dining table to provide tiny home owners with a dining area that can be easily cleared away. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

She designed the belt so it could be concealed underneath clothes if necessary.

Thornton also designed a phone application so users could track information about their menstrual cycle, their symptoms, and could interact with other users on a forum.

She thought the forum would be helpful for women, after her own experiences of hearing others' stories on social media.

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"For me on a personal level it's very comforting to read those stories in the sense of knowing that you're not alone," she said.

Thornton's project is not only designed to alleviate pain, but also to provide a sense of security and comfort. She has also created a wrap around pillow the heat belt can slip into.

Meanwhile a number of industrial design students have focused on the growing trend of tiny homes to base their projects on.

Fourth-year student Katherine Rybinski wanted to provide a way for people living in tiny homes to still have a dining area, so created a table and chair set that can be clicked away into a small cavity in the kitchen unit.

A protective suit for robots is among the designs at Massey University's Exposure exhibition in Wellington. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
A protective suit for robots is among the designs at Massey University's Exposure exhibition in Wellington. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

Rybinski had read a book by an American philosopher who lived in a three by six metre cabin, which made her wonder how much space people truly need to live in.

"I'm a minimalist myself," she said.

She is one of several students who have created projects to suit tiny homes.

Other projects in the exhibition include a bicycle helmet that can alert the rider as to whether they've suffered a concussion, a food waste bin and compressor with built in plate scrapers and magnetic cutlery catchers, and children's book promoting correct pronunciation of te reo Māori.

One student, Jake Luijten, designed a suit that would protect robots from harsh environments.

In the product description, he said he was a big fan of looking to the future.

He noticed robotics and AI were mainly being built and tested in safe environments, so decided to create something to protect them in the environments they were designed to tackle.

Exposure showcases the work of graduates from the university's schools of art, design, music, and creative media production.

The exhibition launches tonight and continues until November 17 in the creative arts precinct around block 12 on the Wellington campus.