An innovative heart monitoring device was developed by ITERATE to showcase the core capabilities of the design team, with the aim of exploring how healthcare products could be integrated into women’s daily lives. The FemTech theme emerged from a design sprint performed as part of our 7th Birthday; the 7-hour sprint which involved 7 team members uncovered an unfulfilled gap in the market. Research has shown that women are often misdiagnosed when experiencing a heart attack, and that most women do not recognise when they are exhibiting symptoms of heart disease. With heart disease killing more than twice as many women each year than breast cancer, we believe a solution to this issue is integral when supporting the FemTech movement. Our heart monitoring device aims to offer preventative daily care by recording women’s heart rhythm and blood oxygen levels. This then allows women to monitor their own health at home – accurately and conveniently.
Understanding the need for female healthcare devices allowed us to develop a user perspective and identify the design challenges that existed within this project. The main purpose of this product is to ensure women are able to proactively monitor their heart health. Expanding on this, the device must be non-obtrusive when in use and possess a desirable feminine aesthetic that integrates into a home environment. Given that the device is monitoring the users heart rhythm and blood oxygen levels, the product must be worn in an area where a pulse is readable, ensuring the data collected is reliable. Furthermore, the user experience needed to be seamless to help encourage daily engagement with the product, both in the morning and in the evening.
PPG technology was used to help monitor cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm) and an oximeter was used to measure oxygen levels in the blood. With these technologies specified, the design team determined that the wrist was the most efficient place on the body to retrieve this data. This then guided the design decision to create a product that sits around the wrist comfortably through a ‘bracelet’ like form. Responding to the need for the device to be non-obtrusive; colour, material and finish (CMF) were heavily considered in the final design. A sculptural like approach was taken when creating the final design. The curvaceous shape and stand-alone feature of the design not only merges into a contemporary home environment but insinuates a strong feminine aesthetic, representing women taking their health into their own hands.
The final product design allows the user to respond to daily readings and pattern changes in their heart health. The product is sympathetic to its female audience through the final design having a sculptural, curvaceous aesthetic. A branding opportunity was also realised with the name ‘Tulip’ acquired from the shape of the product, when it is not in use, reflecting an appealing aesthetic from its female target audience. Muted colours were also selected, with the aim to represent the tranquil ease of use the product offers and to ensure the product seamlessly integrates into a home environment, contrasting harsh, saturated colour. Copper also outlines the curve shape of the design, offering a contrast in materiality and colour that highlights the feminine form of the product and adds an element of luxury. Through carefully considered design decisions guided by the technology needed to create a reliable heart monitoring device, a desirable, stylish FemTech product was created by the design team.
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