10 Remarkably Sleek Medical Devices

September 22, 2014

11 Slides

10 Remarkably Sleek Medical Devices

The influence of consumer tech on medtech design has increased tremendously in the past five years or so. “We are seeing a lot of consumer tech design influence on medical devices,” says Brian Mason, director of IDEO's Design for Health unit.

The debut of the iPhone in June of 2007 played a role in sparking this trend, causing consumers and designers to rethink how sleek, powerful, and intuitive a smartphone could be.

Even before the iPhone’s launch, patients were clamoring for medical devices that were as easy to use as their iPod. In April 2007, blogger Amy Tenderich penned an open letter to Steve Jobs, begging him to get involved in the design of medical devices. “Most [insulin pumps and blood glucose monitors] are clunky, make weird alarm sounds, are more or less hard to use, and burn quickly through batteries. In other words: their design doesn’t hold a candle to the iPod,” she wrote.

In the past couple of years, the traditional boundaries between consumer technology and medical technology have begun to blur significantly, says IDEO’s Mason. The diagram from IDEO above shows the influence both sectors are having on the other.  

Read on to see 10 especially remarkable medical device examples reflecting the influence of consumer technology.

And for a good refresher on design, check out the IDEO Design Challenge Workshop on Thursday, October 30, at MD&M Minneapolis.

Brian Buntz is the editor-in-chief of MPMN and Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz. Chris Newmarker is senior editor of MPMN and Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker

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