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My Heel


The MyHeel smart insoles can be grown at home and allow wearers to monitor their foot health via a personalised web application (that can also be linked to their nominated health care professional). With these ethically grown smart insoles, wearers can engage in interactive foot exercises that visualise movement
via bespoke biofeedback technology. The MyHeel smart insoles stand apart from other smart insoles on the market because they are biodegradable (with reusable microprocessors) and they consider the needs of both the user and health care professionals.
The MyHeel design team’s vision is to transform the user experience of people monitoring their feet by making it more accessible, sustainable and engaging. Mycelium was used in the biodesigned artefact because it is a highly durable and fast-growing material, which could potentially transform the shoe design industry - by offering an eco-friendly alternative to regular shoe manufacturing materials (i.e. textiles, foam, rubber) that ultimately end up in landfill (Schmitt, 2018).

The user will purchase a MyHeel Grow-It-Yourself kit, they can then follow the instructions to place the mycelium mixture into a laser cut mold and grow their insole for a week. They will then dry out the insole in an oven, to make the mycelia dormant and attach the sensors to the insole. The sensors will then connect to the feather, which is placed inside of a casing and to be clipped onto the laces of the user's shoe. As the user walks, runs, or plays with the shoes containing the insole, the sensors will send the pressure measurement to the feather, which can be accessed and visualised on the MyHeel app. Both users and healthcare professionals will have access to this data, allowing them to identify potential problems areas before the issue requires expensive or a high risk medical assistance, such as amputation. Once the insole starts to break and needs replacing, the user can then detach the sensors to reuse and then compost the base of the insole. 


In this project I primarily focused on improving my graphic design and 3D modelling skills. Experimenting with a variety of different programs including Figma, Blender, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe XD. All these programs allowed me to plan, build and edit all assets that make up MyHeel; the MyHeel App, MyHeel Grow-It-Yourself Kit, Mycelium insole with sensors, as well as the Feather Microcontroller Clip Case. By using a range of programs I was able to develop low, mid and high fidelity mockups to help explain and visualise our concept. 


By designing this mycelium-based insole, our project will effectively help to address two ‘wicked’ problems currently at stake: providing universal health care for all and tackling the problem of waste.



Since this project focuses on developing a bio-designed device that promotes foot health awareness, it is important to consider the types of foot problems that currently occur in the general population. According to the Australian Podiatry Association, the field of podiatry deals with ‘the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs.’ Foot health is an important aspect of a person’s general health as foot problems can severely impact a person’s mobility and quality of life. Globally, there is a general lack of awareness around foot health and low levels of foot self-monitoring amongst the general population.

I originally conducted a range of secondary research into current, future solutions and other bio-design products for find inspiration. From here the first iteration was developed, a mycelium insole that could changed colour to indicate excessive pressure.

Iteration #1

Iteration 1.png


To improve of the design I did further primary research and conducted 5 semi-structured interviews including healthcare workers and users with foot related issues. These findings were summarised and evaluated with the use of an affinity diagram, identifying the following problems within foot health and current medical practices. As well as potential gaps in the market for further improvement.

Users do not prioritise their foot health until the damage is done or the pain is unbearable. A prime example of this is when Jean Wardell, a 77-year-old retiree, stated “I just put up with it at my age” (2021).  This is particularly relevant for cases where the user is unable to feel the effect of a sore. As a result patients are less inclined to seek medical help to fix it. In extreme cases, like diabetes, where patients experience numbness in feet they won't be able to identify this issue. If not cared for and treated in time the user may have to undergo surgery. Along with this comes high surgical and ongoing health costs which many are unable to afford. To combat this issue the solution will need to address and encourage users to be more in touch with their feet at a younger age or earlier stage of diagnosis. This solution will need to visually show the impact on their feet as well as track the data for potential long term complications.


A potential gap in the market is to make a design that is more interactive and user friendly. 30-year-old type one diabetic patient Holly Abolins emphasised the importance of eating well and physical exercise when caring for her diabetes, stating that “if you don't look after yourself your feet can get damaged. And that's one of the main problems. So, I'm always cautious with my sugar levels so my feet don’t get cut off” (2021). To incorporate this desire for healthier living the solution could take data and identify a potential exercise or solution to overcome the issue or problem areas. The design would alert the user to interact in a way to relieve the pressure on their feet, encouraging the user to stretch, move or complete an exercise. 


Both interviews with experts and research of current designs have shown a major gap in the market, this being medical and general waste that contributes to landfill. According to Leonard King, a General Practitioner for age care patients in Brisbane, “ the primary problem with medical supplies” (2021). With this in mind, it would be beneficial to utilise a biodegradable material, such as mycelium, to make the main structure of the product. That way as soon as the solution no longer works the user can remove the mechanics and place the exterior in the garden or compost. This will minimise its impact the design has on the environment and future.

Affinity Diagram

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Since completing the interviews I discovered most elderly people are unable or unwilling to care for their feet. Therefore they would forget or struggle to check the insole for feedback. This could be improved by targeting younger users, utilising technology to alert and get patients in touch with their feet at a younger age to prevent or minimise the damage before it becomes an issue. 

Iteration #2


Iteration 2.png

To further improve this design 3 personas were made that embodied all the primary and secondary research findings; Caring Karen, Resilient Robert and Healthy Hillary. The 2nd iteration was planned and designed to suit their identified needs. To plan out how the new iteration would assist the users a storyboard and User Journey map were developed. The storyboard helped give a simple overview of how the MyHeel will work in the everyday life of a user and highlight to our team what needed to be developed. Whilst the user journey map identified how each persona will feel over an entire life cycle of the product. ​

User Journey Map

User Journey Map.jpg


The product has been subject to rigorous testing in many different forms to make sure that it was a viable concept that could be moved forward through the development and design process. The circuitry of the pressure sensor has been iterated upon multiple times and is still in development to make sure it will be compact and also serve its destined purpose while mounted to a shoe. The power source has been considered multiple times whether it should be rechargeable in the form of a small Lithium Ion battery or a consumer grade 9V battery that could be easily attained by customers when it was needing to be replaced. Further, the mycelium sole itself has been tested for durability by being subject to extended periods of standing while I was working to test whether it would be too brittle or not have enough resistance to withstand the weight of whatever user it may encounter. 

Pressure Testing



The final products were made using a range or programs to get clean, detailed and professional mockups. The MyHeel DIY Kit was designed using Figma, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to design, combine and brand all assets. The MyHeel Insole and Feather Casing was developed on Blender, a 3D modelling program to get the most realistic and detailed renders, with applied textures. Finally the MyHeel App was developed on Figma with imported visuals and graphic from Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.


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