The iPad Touches Medical Device Design

May 18, 2011

3 Min Read
The iPad Touches Medical Device Design

andersDX offers the FlushTouch custom design service for touch screen applications in the medical device industry.

Thanks to its sleek, compact design and touch-based user interface, the iPad has inspired a tablet computer craze while revolutionizing consumer electronics design. Taking advantage of the iPad's widespread popularity and user-friendly interface, a growing number of design and technology companies are now helping medical device manufacturers to incorporate a similar look and feel into their products to optimize the user experience.

With the advent of smartphones, the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and a host of other Apple products, there's been a noticeable trend in the medical device space to replicate a variety of these products' design elements. To accommodate this trend, andersDX, a company specializing in interface technologies and usability, has launched the FlushTouch custom design service. Using the touch screen interface of the iPad as inspiration, the service provides completely flat, bezel-free designs that "combine standard touch sensors with touch window or cover-lens technologies, different materials, and finishes for a variety of custom options." Offered for all touch sensor technologies, the service is suited for display sizes ranging from 2 to 22 in. 

"Touch has become fundamental to the user interface in industrial and medical designs, and users are becoming increasingly demanding based on their experience [with] consumer products such as the iPad," according to Mike Logan, product marketing manager for andersDX. "FlushTouch front panel designs not only meet specific application and environmental requirements, but provide the user with the same look, feel, and experience they have come to expect from their consumer devices."

But andersDX isn't the only technology company seeing the advantage of promoting the allure of iPad-like touch-based features. Other companies such as Blue Sparq are jumping on the potentially lucrative bandwagon as well. The engineering design and manufacturing company recently announced a capacitive touch keypad and graphic overlay design and manufacturing service. 

"Our customers routinely tell us that they have purchased capacitive touch design kits from IC manufacturers, and realize the examples shown are far from what is required in an actual product," says Jameel Ahed, president of Blue Sparq. "Even if they were successful in designing what is shown in these kits, they would still need to design, print and assemble the graphic overlay. In cases where the project required a uniformly lit keypad and tactile feedback, the customer complained that there were no practical examples to follow." Blue Sparq, however, says it has the expertise and equipment necessary to produce a cost-effective capacitive touch interface.

With such design capabilities and the proliferation of touch screen technologies in the consumer market, it is inevitable that, when applicable, user-friendly features commonly found in consumer electronics are incorporated into medical devices. And this trend is nothing new. However, it has dramatically increased in recent years as Apple has introduced one sexy new technology after another, beginning with the iPod. It will be interesting to see what consumer electronics feature or trend we see cropping up in the medical device space next. Do you have any guesses? Let us know in the comments section below. --Shana Leonard

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