Smart collar lets you protect your mental health in public

If you’ve ever suffered a panic or anxiety attack while in public, you know how hard it is to be able to find a “safe space”. Sometimes all you need is a place to get away to breathe and ground yourself. But if you can’t find such a space, you’d want to crawl inside your shirt or something, which you really can’t literally do. This concept product will let you do that, crawl inside the cowl or high-neck collar and give you the privacy you need at the moment.

Designer: Maria Rybina

VOL. is a smart high-neck collar that you can wear every day or when needed and gives you personal space and privacy even in a public setting. When not needed, it can just be worn as a simple collar or cowl. It is described as “comfortable, stylish, and easy to use” and based on the photo renders, it seems to be that. The moment you need a bit of privacy, or you need to evaluate your current mental health status, you can zip it up and get a temporary respite inside of it.

It’s not a magic collar, but it comes with a microphone to help you communicate with someone at the moment, dynamics, so you’ll be able to listen, and a control center that lets you do things like turn the Bluetooth connection on and off, connect to your smartphone, or adjust the volume of what you’re listening to or who you’re talking to. You get some privacy as the insulating properties of the collar can lower sound up to 12 decibels so people up to 3 feet cannot hear what you’re saying or listening to.

VOL. is made from V-Lap Fabric which is non-woven material with vertically oriented polyester fabrics. It enables the collar to absorb speech when you need some alone time in talking to your therapist, friend, or whoever it is you need to talk to. It also has a heat-saving function which will be useful during winter and months of extreme weather. You can connect it to your smartphone so you can do things like listening to music, taking calls, and monitoring your mental health.

The last one mentioned is measured through a connected app. It will measure what your voice and tone sound like and give you a report on how your mood seems to be based on those factors. How accurate that will be remains to be seen but even for its privacy features, VOL. seems to be a useful, safe space for those who may need it. Those who also find it hard to be in public spaces with other people can also benefit from it.