Project type: DMBA Experience Design
Product: Wearable Device
Team: Elise Gill, Elaine Goddard, Hailey Harmon, Linna Li, Jorge Torres
To aid in the prevention of veteran homelessness, we created Arm to Arm, a bio-sensing dog tag and mobile application that works to ease the transition into civilian life by providing greater structure, individual significance, and community connection.
After learning that there are over 50,000 homeless veterans on the street on any given night in the United States, our team decided to look into the reasons behind this statistic, and to find a solution that would help to prevent this reality. To get a better understanding of the scope of the problem, we did a range of research and interviews among different veteran’s organizations, VA therapists, veterans, and people currently serving in the military. Based on this primary and secondary research we began to uncover what was missing from the experience of returning military members post discharge that lead to homelessness. Soldiers are frequently discharged without the knowledge of what to do next, what benefits exist for them, and where they can go to interact with a group that understands what they’ve been through.
There are many resources that exist for veterans, the problem is that there is little knowledge of them and they frequently go underutilized. Currently, at the point of discharge, veterans go through TAP, or the Transition Assistance Program, a 5-day program that runs all returning veterans through their transition back into civilian life. TAP covers topics of personal financial, health benefits, resume building and job interview skills. Its a great program, but beyond this point of contact veterans were still missing continued connection, so we identified this time between TAP and the first year of civilian life as our opportunity space. We realized that to achieve continued connection for veterans requires: Structure, individual Significance, and Community.
And so we created ARM to ARM, a bio-sensing dog tag and mobile application that connects veterans to communities, resources, and benefits available to them to ensure a smoother transition into civilian life. The dog tag has two main functions:
it records health biometrics to help veterans cope with stress levels, and it functions as a quick and easy ID scanning device to eliminate repetitive paper work. The dog tag transfers the information to a mobile application. The application is the central access point to all of the veteran’s information captured by the dog tag as well as providing easy access to all the benefits, information and assistance available for them. The app is divided into four main parts: Connect, Apply, Alert, and Me (with information including their medical history and user profile). “Connect” links veterans to mentors, support groups, and local community volunteer opportunities. “Apply” connects to career counseling and job placement resources. “Alert” links to emergency services and 24/7 on call counseling. “Me” connects to contacts, calendars, and appointment reminders. It’s a one-stop-shop for veterans to living a stable civilian life.
Having accessible and easy to understand resources is a right every veteran should have. There are many resources and many veterans out there. Arm to Arm aims to connect these resources to the veterans that need them.