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Osci

A portable blood pressure monitor for traveling seniors.

The Project

Osci is a portable blood pressure monitor designed to help seniors travel and participate in  activities outside of the home confidently. The objective of this project was to create a portable blood pressure monitor (BPM) that would help everyday people travel and live confidently. 

Duration:  12 weeks - completed December 2019

Methods:  Primary and Secondary Research, Market Definition, Sketching, Prototyping and Testing

Type: Team Research, Individual Project

Context

High blood pressure affects millions of people globally. For those who need to monitor their blood pressure regularly, the size of current at-home monitors make it challenging to leave the home and participate in activities.

Research

We tested two types of BPMs: a wrist monitor by PhysioLogic and a bicep monitor by Omron. We involved student participants with little to no experience using a BPM to identify first impressions and common pain points. Click here to view our full research report.

Research Findings

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Defining a User Context

Travelling is a great way to remain active during retirement, however, the risk of high blood pressure also increases with age. The focus of my project was to support independence and confidence among travelling seniors—to keep them moving where they want to go.

Objectives:

  • Reduce health concerns while travelling

  • Encourage independence and active living among seniors

  • Share information with doctor while travelling abroad

  • Accessible and intuitive interface

  • Accessible design for for those with age-related health issues (e.g. vision and hearing loss, arthritis, poor memory)

  • Lightweight and easy to pack in a travel bag

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Betty and Alfred are newly retired. They wish to travel abroad, but they're worried about Alfred's high blood pressure condition.

Concept Sketches

I chose to redesign the bicep monitor because of its familiarity and measurement accuracy, which are critical for older adults with chronic high blood pressure.

 

I explored ways to make the monitor lighter, easier to put on and pack away. By reimagining the form, I could eliminate the plastic skeleton found inside the fabric cuff and get rid of cumbersome parts such as air tubes to reduce packing size.

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Prototyping and Testing

Seven participants were asked to wear latex gloves to simulate the stiffness from arthritis, a common age-related health issue. I set up a small area to simulate the crammed seating on a plane, a real scenario where someone travelling might need to take their blood pressure. Four cuffs were evaluated based on unpacking, attaching, tightening, and packing up.

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1. Classic D-Ring. Cuff threads through ring and wraps away from body.
2. Ladder lock. Designed to easily slide on and off arm. 
3. Cuff threads through itself and pulls towards body to simplify tightening and attaching. 
4. Retractable cuff that pulls out from the bottom and retracts to tighten and pack.
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Difficulty unwrapping tightly rolled-up cuffs.
Awkward twisting and multiple attempts to tighten cuff.
Time consuming to wrap cuffs when packing.
Difficulty pulling cuff out from monitor.

User Testing Findings

Each task was  rated on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being easiest to complete) and then totaled for comparison.

Key findings:

  • People valued convenience and efficiency of the rectractable cuff

  • People did not remember how cuffs 1-3 were rolled up

  • If people were confused about how to roll up a cuff, they would pack it away carelessly

  • People expressed frustration when they couldn't control the tightness of the cuff

  • People often put the cuffs on with the monitor facing the wrong way

Easy pull tab to unwind cuff

Initial Concept

What's intuitive to a handful of students may not be intuitive to the actual user market. The design needed to be simple and understandable so users would feel confident using the device own their own.

 

Since technology and smartphones are making it easier for seniors to stay connected and live independently, users could track their data, share information with their doctors, and set reminders for readings and medication using a compatible app. All critical information from the app should also be accessible from the BPM itself to include people who might not use smartphones in their everyday life.

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Use Cycle

User receives a reminder to take his or her blood pressure
Pull out self-locking cuff and slide onto bicep
Gently press top of monitor to retract cuff to arm width
Press power button once to turn on, then press again to begin measurement.
Once reading is complete, slide cuff off and press top of monitor to retract rest of cuff
Pack up monitor until next scheduled  reading

Redesign

Creating to-scale prototypes allowed me to test the size, width, and placement of buttons in my design. It also helped me plan the placement of internal components for production.

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Final Design

With an added button, the cuff retracts when the top of the monitor is pressed giving users more control over tightening and packing their device. Leaving a bit of the cuff outside of the monitor makes it easier and more intuitive for users to pull at the cuff to unwind it.

Click here to view additional details about process, materials and manufacturing.

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Compatible app for easy access to data on the go
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See trends and upcoming reminders
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Communicate results directly with doctors and loved ones

Final Model

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