new levels of self-care with the ‘vol.’ collar by maria rybina
Designed by Maria Rybina, ‘Vol.’ is a smart high-neck collar that helps reinforce personal space, encourage self-care, and keep users warm during cold weather. The oddly intriguing piece of clothing looks at the growing stress epidemic that plagues cities year after year at alarmingly high rates. It also responds to how Covid-19 has impacted the perception of a mask; covering part of the face has become the new normal. Rybina notes: ‘With the help of VOL we do not create a new routine, but we use an already formed habit.’
built-in tech that encourages privacy + tracks mental health
‘The partial facial closure provides the feeling of personal space in a public setting. Covering the mouth allows one to speak or make facial expressions freely without the fear of affecting those around. Personal space helps alleviate stress,’ continues the designer.
Made of high-quality material, the collar creates a sound barrier absorbing most of the user’s voice. The integrated electronics make it easy to connect to your phone. Personal conversations can now be held comfortably in public spaces without fear of being heard. But the application of ‘Vol.’ is much broader: the product can be used for private conversations (with a therapist or in a coworking space) to avoid disturbing nearby people.
The collar consists of four parts: Microphone (to communicate or record), Dynamics (to listen), V-Lap Fabric (a nonwoven fabric with vertically oriented polyester fibers to absorb speech), and Control Center (turns on/off Bluetooth, connects to the phone, and adjusts the sound). Thanks to the insulating properties of its body, ‘Vol.’ is capable of lower sound to 12 dB. As a result, people at a distance of three feet cannot make out the user’s words. Nevertheless, their speech could be transmitted to the other end loud and clear thanks to the sensitive inlaid microphone. The device can also mute speech for a more ‘private’ expression of emotions, especially out in public.
Once synchronized with a mobile app, the collar will begin measuring users’ daily voice tones to track their mood and mental health. ‘It does not have the image of a healing device and, as a result, helps to avoid any stigmatization,’ concludes Maria Rybina.
design: Maria Rybina
features: Microphone, Dynamics, V-Lap Fabric, Control Center
edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom