These design-savvy medical devices put a stylish spin on healthcare necessities to help remove the social stigmas often associated with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and scoliosis.
1 Hue asthma inhaler
For community design challenge #BREATHEBETTERWITHCS, California designer Tim Zarki reimagined the traditional asthma inhaler – a design which hasn’t changed since the 1950s. Meant to ease the embarrassment young asthmatics may feel about their inhalers, the update encloses the aerosol medication canister with a tactile case in trendy colour options. Fitted with a coordinating cord it becomes almost an accessory, something a kid might be more inclined to show off than to hide.
2 Unyq Align back brace
San Francisco and Seville, Spain-based company Unyq first gained notice for its 3-D-printed prosthetic covers that allow users to customize artificial legs. More recently they’ve introduced a prototype for a 3-D-printed brace that provides a stylish alternative to the unattractive and uncomfortable contraptions typically used to treat adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The lightweight latticework is comfortable, breathable and fitted with app-linked sensors that put the control in the hands of the user, helping them to better understand the treatment and achieve prescribed wear-time goals. A sensorless version of the brace is available now.
3 One Drop glucose monitor
This elegant little set reimagines the components of a blood glucose monitoring system as a trio of sleek chrome elements and tucks them into a streamlined leather carrying case that slips discreetly into a small pocket or purse. The set allows users to test blood glucose levels in as little as 5 seconds and transmit the data via the One Drop mobile app; starter kits include the Bluetooth blood glucose meter, a lancing device, 10 lancets and 100 test strips.
4 DermalAbyss biosensor tattoos
Researchers at MIT and Harvard have teamed up to investigate the possibilities for replacing tattoo inks with biosensors that could turn a person’s own skin into an interactive display. The project explored a variety of biosensors that shift colour in reaction to different types of biochemical changes. For instance, the pH sensors alternates between purple and pink, and the glucose sensor goes from blue to brown. While the team has no present plans to further the research, they imagine the technology could be developed for applications in continuously monitoring medical diagnostics, and save diabetic patients as many as ten jabs a day from testing lancets.
5 Soft Stone massage pillow
An attractive alternative to the unwieldy options we’ve seen in the past for electronic back massage tools, this beach stone-inspired device was designed for Dream Co. Japan by Claesson Kovisto Rune. The vibrating pillow’s massaging effect is similar to that administered by hand, making an ideal solution for dealing with back and neck tension in patients who feel uncomfortable visiting a massage therapist, or who simply can’t find the time.