THE MULTI-SCOPE

An MD in Texas, USA, approached us to help him design a new medical device: the multi-scope.

The doctor had envisioned the multi-scope as a multi-purpose device that combines the functionality of an otoscope, an endoscope and a nasal scope.

For those that don’t know: an otoscope enables users to look into the ear; an endoscope deals with the throat and stomach; and a nasal scope allows users to look into the nose. It should be possible to use the new multi-scope device to inspect the nose, ear and mouth.

THE CHALLENGES

We were tasked with the end-to-end product design. This incorporated many phases: design research, industrial design, engineering design, electronics development, IU/UX design, mobile app development, and prototype development.

This was an extensive and detailed project that took 15 months for the whole process.

Cost was a major constraint. The MD wanted a device that could be used at home by patients. He’d realised that, in many cases, patients did not arrive for an appointment until after the infection had set in. He wanted to empower patients to spot symptoms at an early stage. However, existing devices on the market were poor quality and costly for their limited use.

By developing a multi-purpose device with more applications, patients would feel more comfortable justifying the higher price tag and could invest in a quality, multi-functional device. Despite the complexity of developing a device that could switch between three different modes, product costs had to be kept low enough for the product to be retailed at a profit for USD $50.

Cost-effective, multi-functional

The client chose to work with us because he liked our work history and the complete end-to-end service we could deliver.

We were able to find a functional design that enabled the easy switch between the different modes. We spent four months identifying a suitable camera with a form factor than less than 3mm for the device and the appropriate chip set that could be used with it. This was important element of the product as the chip would send the data via Wi-Fi to the mobile app, which enables patients to email images to their MD.

We developed a mechanism to which it was possible to attach the three different specula, so users could switch between different modes with minimal effort.

The client was impressed by our transparency about the costs incurred in developing the product and our accuracy and honesty about the time it would take. Most importantly, he loved the product that we designed.

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