Acuation: Real-Time Acupoint Stimulation To Mediate The Urge To Smoke


Katarina Richter-Lunn

Katarina Richter-Lunn

Acu.ation is an intervention that aims to mediate the urge to smoke by pairing a wearable device that delivers transcutaneous electric acupoint stimulation (TEAS) with a mobile application that provides Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP). Given the pervasiveness of cigarette smoking, high rates of relapse, and limitations of existing treatments, it is critical to explore new methods of relapse prevention. Our solution draws from acupuncture’s global use in treating addiction and recent evidence that non-invasive TEAS can reduce the urge to smoke after exposure to a drug-related cue. Specifically, we have designed a device formed to four acupoints (LI4, PC8, PC6, and TH5) located on the wrist and hand, and programmed to deliver 5-15mA stimulation. Through a paired mobile application, individuals are simultaneously guided through an MBRP intervention to help them take control of their response to the trigger. Together, this system provides real-time relief from the urge to smoke so individuals can better engage with cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention strategies in high-risk moments.

To be published at ACM CHI EA 2022.


  • Ila Kumar, a graduate student in MIT Media Lab's Affective Computing group
  • Katarina Richter-Lunn, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design
Research Topics