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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Valeria Martinelli

Valeria is a Design Engineer and Strategist with 6 years of experience as a Design Researcher & Innovation Consultant. She has contributed to businesses and non-profit organisations to expand their capacity for impact by identifying and solving problems from a human-centric and planet-centric approach.

Valeria is passionate about driving a positive impact in society through equitable access to basic services such as health, education, and finance. As a design engineer with a focus on healthcare, human-centered design, sustainability and low-tech solutions, she creates innovative and accessible products that enhance people's lives.

Her goal is to design products that are not only functional and efficient, but also sustainable and inclusive. Whether she is working on a wellness device or a consumer product, she strives to make a positive impact on the world and the people who use her designs.

Research and recent work primarily revolves around FemTech and Women's Health. Her projects include designing natural sanitary pads, developing low-tech pain relief underwear for painful period pain, creating portable physiotherapy bands for fitness enthusiasts, and exploring intimacy for women experiencing menopause.


- Finalist 'Grand Challenge 2022' by RCA with Aqua Scan, a marine device that tracks ocean and environmental data to detect the seasonal patterns of debris and anticipate its congregation.

- Shortlisted 'VCC 2023: Creative & Consumer Track' by Imperial Enterprise Lab with Dailya, a low-tech period-pain relief underwear.

Relevant experience

As part of Banco de Crédito del Perú (the leading bank with the largest design team in the country), Valeria contributed on +40 projects and human-centered solutions for the finance industry.

- Strategic Design Lead for Cultural Transformation

- Senior Service Experience Designer

- UX Designer

- Design Researcher

Portrait picture of student Valeria Martinelli

Menopause affects half of the global population, yet many women often remain unaware of the challenges they may encounter during this phase. These symptoms can have a profound impact on physical and emotional well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. While existing treatments offer some relief, there is a need for comprehensive and personalized solutions that address the multifaceted aspects of sexual well-being, tailored to individual preferences.

Introducing Viva, a customizable sexual well-being system designed specifically for women in menopause and beyond. Its mission is to improve access to treatment, foster open conversations, and enhance women's overall quality of life. Viva is uniquely designed to help women establish personalized sexual wellness routines that integrate tissue restoration, relaxation, and pleasure. It sets itself apart by providing a personalized and flexible experience, empowering women to tailor the system to their individual needs and preferences. With its diverse range of components and functions, Viva offers comprehensive support, addressing emotional, mental, and physical aspects of women's sexual well-being.

With Viva, I want to bring sexual well-being to the forefront of the conversation, helping women reconnect with their bodies, improve their overall wellness, and enjoy this stage of life with confidence and empowerment. By embracing sensuality, mindfulness, and tissue restoration, Viva offers a comprehensive solution that exceeds traditional expectations.

Viva, a customizable sexual well-being system designed for women in menopause and beyond

Viva's purpose is to improve access to treatment, encourage open conversations, and enhance women's overall quality of life. It helps women establish sexual wellness routines that encompass tissue restoration, relaxation, and pleasure. 

Digital render showing viva kit (box, device, sexual hygiene product) and phone with app screen
menopause description and symptoms
menopause effects
bridging the health gap
women's health potential and opportunity
design process 3 components and explanation
Venn Diagram showing the 3 main aspects of the holistic approach and their overlapping sections

Viva offers comprehensive support by addressing the emotional, mental and physical aspects

What sets Viva apart is its personalization and flexibility. Every woman's menopause journey is unique, and Viva allows women to tailor their experience based on their individual needs and preferences. With different components and functions to choose from, women will have flexibility and control over their treatment. 

The App and the device are synchronized, with the device responding to the audio story narrated on the App. Vibration and heating are triggered at specific moments in the audio, enhancing the immersive experience. Additionally, users can personalize their experience by indicating their preferences, allowing for AI-generated personalized audio that creates a captivating and immersive experience.

viva components: kit and app
user guide

Mobile App

The Viva App provides a comprehensive program for gradual pleasure and well-being, including audio-guided stories for mindfulness, device usage, and erotica, along with educational resources, a supportive community, and access to experts. Users can also explore independent guided audios and knowledge pills. The App's emphasis on mindfulness and storytelling acknowledges the strong connection between these elements and women's pleasure.

viva app mockup screens

Physical Device

The home-use device is specifically designed to address the unique physical changes associated with GSM. With its ergonomic curve that mimics a cupping sensation on the vulva and a tapered tip for precise stimulation, it provides discreet and approachable external use. The device features gentle vibration to improve blood flow and enhance comfort during intimacy. Its lightweight design and non-exhausting grip prioritize the comfort of the intended age group. The device can also be comfortably used on other erogenous zones for exploration and self-pleasure.

tech spechs of viva devic
photoshoot of viva device being used
series of iterations
making the prototype process

Additionally, Arduino and ESP32 microcontrollers were utilized for prototyping the electronics aspect of the project.

initial prototype
working prototype
dailya renders on body
DailyaA hassle-free solution for painful period cramps (dysmenorrhea) in women using non-invasive thermal therapy. Dailya introduces a solution for women wanting to relieve period pain discreetly outside of their homes and develops an affordable solution that doesn’t require electrical maintenance nor adds additional complications to users. [Group Project]
explosion of layers of pad
VenusA sustainable and modular menstrual pad that serves as an ideal medium and natural fertilizer for nurturing flower growth. Designed to minimize single-use waste, replace harmful materials with eco-friendly alternatives, and promote reusability. The pad's absorbent section, infused with Diatomaceous earth and natural fertilizers (from menstrual blood) becomes an excellent medium for flower growth. [Group Project]
aqua scan device rendered on the ocean
AquaScanA marine device that tracks ocean data to detect the seasonal patterns of debris and anticipate its congregation and danger. AquaScan aims to generate a new economic model for the oceans that is based on being informed by the sea. Prevents ocean pollution by providing real-time data to detect and anticipate danger to the ecosystem. The footage is then used to feed a virtual reality game to generates awareness. [Group Project]
nutriflow render on wetland water
NutriflowAn integrated ecosystem service for closing the loop on agricultural nutrient transfer through a biomimetic approach. Nutriflow treats water and produces sustainable fertilizers using specially designed floating wetlands. These wetlands are inspired by the amazon water lily and grapple plant, and they support the growth of plants that naturally clean up pollutants. The system allows for easy harvesting of these plants, enabling the recovery of biomass from aquatic vegetation.
app screen mockup
SoapboxFlexible and dynamic spaces to empower communities through collaboration, participation, and the sharing of ideas. Soapboxes are collaborative spaces in London that empower communities through sharing and participation, fostering connections and empowerment. These dynamic platforms, supported by a digital interface, enable users to explore, book, showcase, host, and join various activities. [Group Project]
max prototype interaction with user
Meet MaxCan a responsive environment construct a feeling of companionship through touch? Meet Max, your new companion. Max is an immersive built environment that fosters companionship through shared tactile experiences, enhancing communication and creating connections by exchanging tactile information. [Group Project]