RESPIRE - A Smart Inhaler
The aim for this project was to create an harmonious, user centred solution to the increasingly-outdated Ventolin Inhalers. User-related issues provided the foundations of the project, whilst introducing UX design into the solution offered a more timely and informative drug administrating experience.
Spirometers are used to monitor the volume of air that is inspired and expired by the lungs. The results can be used to identify abnormal ventilation patterns, restrictions and abnormalities, these in turn is used to diagnose, monitor and manage the symptoms of Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other repository issues. They are often used alongside Ventolin Inhalers, as a method of monitoring Asthma.
However, both the Spirometers and Ventalin Inhalers have their issues.
Whilst the core problems for both the Inhaler and Spirometer are vastly difference, their solutions could come in the form of a single device, or family of products. In summary, the areas that must be addressed are;
- Improving the usability of the inhaler to increase effectiveness and correct use.
- A more portable spirometer that can be with the user at all time of day.
So, what's the solution?
RESPIRE's form is directly influenced by its additional functionality and ergonomic requirements.
The spirometer module is located on the extra outlet on the rear of the device; not only does the provide a distinctive aesthetic, but it also provides a clear airflow for the air that is channelled from the mouthpiece.
Quick, loose sketching was used to explore a general form and method of interaction. The form was then used a the foundation for further development in 3D. The method of low-fidelity prototyping chosen was 3D printing, as it allowed quick exploration of the organic shape.
Iterations of the form were used in order for an ergonomic and correctly proportioned device to be created. This was especially important for this project as the form would directly influence how the user is to hold the device, which would ultimately decide whether it is used correctly.
So, how does it work?
The unique form also brings with it ergonomic benefits; the user's thumb fits comfortably within the indent on the device's underside. This encourages the correct usage as well as provide a more pleasant drug-administrating experience.
The mouthpiece is the part of the device which interacts directly with the user and relies on the user to use it correctly.
The shape, diameter and overall form of this aspect is key for a thorough seal to me made. REPISE uses a oval mouthpiece which fits comfortably to the contours of the user's lips.
An LED on the front of the device completes its job as a visual indicator to the user. Paired with the haptic feedback from the vibration motor, the user receives an informative experience.
How smart tech could help
Trusting the user to memorise the steps for correct usage is a little bit of a large ask, so is relying on them to carry notes with them on the off chance they will requiring medication. So a mobile application that communicates the steps for administration suddenly makes a lot of sense.
The final aspect of the solution is actually the first element that the user engages with. The un-boxing experience.
The packaging has been designed to become part of the educational element of the solution; clear informative icons can be seen on the inside of the packaging, whilst the user manual is clearly presented to the user.