Posted by Ray
| 9 Dec 2011
Rapid-prototyping company Proto Labs recently announced the third award-winner in their ongoing "Cool Idea!" program, an open call for designers and entrepreneurs to enter their projects for a chance to win up to $100,000 worth of Firstcut CNC-machined and/or Protomold injection molded parts: Whirlwind Wheelchair's RoughRider.
Whirlwind Wheelchair International is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that it is "dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities in the developing world while also promoting sustainable local economic development in the process," with a specific focus on providing high-quality wheelchairs to those who need them.
Their flagship product, the RoughRider, is a durable, low-cost, all-purpose wheelchair, which has found an enthusiastic audience of over 25,000 riders in over 40 countries. Now, after over three decades of improving the lives of the less fortunate, they are making the assistive device available in the United States.
In preparation for the release to a mainstream U.S. audience, the RoughRider underwent a redesign with the addition of lightweight side panels to make it better looking and customizable, something U.S. customers will love. As a Cool Idea! Award recipient, Proto Labs provided Whirlwind Wheelchair International with the key side panels needed for an initial U.S. launch.
Existing features of the RoughRider, which was developed for use on "muddy village paths [and] rough pot-holed urban streets" alike, include a long wheelbase for stability, heavy-duty casters in front and mountain bike wheels in back, and five-position rear axle.
Perhaps most importantly, the tires, tubes, hardware and bearings are readily available in nearly every corner of the world—"in bicycle shops, motorcycle shops, and hardware stores wherever you go."
Whirlwind Wheelchair International founder Ralf Hotchkiss believes that it is high time for American riders to have a more rugged option for a wheelchair: "Scores of wheelchair riders in the U.S. have inquired about purchasing the RoughRider specifically for off-pavement adventures that are difficult with U.S. style wheelchairs. Entering the U.S. market at this time will provide Whirlwind with a wealth of critical feedback from well-informed consumers, and may raise enough funds to do much-needed development of the innovations coming in from riders in developing countries. Besides, some U.S. riders who have ridden the Rough Rider had so much fun that they would love to get one for themselves. We will do whatever is necessary to make this happen."
See it in action after the jump:
Posted by Dave Seliger
| 22 Nov 2011
We were lucky to get a tour of the Patient Safety Training Center in the basement of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. Although the name sounds rather banal, the Center actually operates like a "hospital within a hospital" used for medical simulations. The purpose of the facility is to train any hospital employee who might come in contact with a patient during their stay, whether it's a doctor, a security guard or even a janitor.
Since opening three years ago, the Center has seen between 5,000 to 10,000 educators and trainees pass through each year. The main hallway is lined with a nurses' station and an assortment of rooms, including an ICU, clinic rooms, a neo-natal room and an Emergency Department which can be reconfigured into an operating room. Likewise, each of the various rooms takes on a variety of roles depending on the simulation's needs, akin to a television set. A room used for clinic rotations for Dartmouth Medical School students in the morning might be transformed into, say, a living room for training nurses in home care in the afternoon.
The Patient Safety Training Center has also taken their simulations outside the fake hospital hallway. For the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART), the hospital's medical transport helicopter crew, the Center put together a simulation of more theatrical proportions. In order to recreate a fire in the patient compartment of the DHART helicopter, the Center's staff put a helicopter on a moving lift inside the DHART hanger and added in dry ice, recorded sounds, and a strobe light to simulate the spinning rotors. While helicopter fire training sessions may be few and far between, the staff at the Patient Safety Training Center "like to think we can do anything down here."
Posted by Ray
| 14 Oct 2011
Editor's note: Updated on Wednesday, October 19
About a month ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Brooklyn-based designer, artist and health educator Sara Krugman at Maker Faire, where she eagerly told us about "Gio," the One-Handed Blood Glucose Meter. The project, a collaboration with fellow designer and artist Eric Forman, made it to the semi-finals of the Diabetes Mine 2011 Design Challenge.
The Gio is a small, sleek one-handed blood glucose (BG) meter designed to make testing fast and instinctive. It combines existing technologies (meter, lancet device, and lancet/strip drum) in a sleek and portable form that can be used at work, on the street, while exercising, even while walking fast to a late appointment. Displaying BG results only, the Gio offers a radically simple and clean user experience.
The device itself is intuitive and ergonomic, neither over- nor under-designed, and duly unassuming. The "Gio" is so discreet, in fact, that it might be mistaken for something else—an office accessory, candy dispenser or even a toy—such that a user would still be wise to keep it somewhere safe.
- On-the-go usability: needs just one hand and no surface
- Fast: 7 second total test time vs. ˜70 seconds with current meters
- Less pain: lancet drum automatically changes lancets
- Compatible with all application and other devices via bluetooth and mini-USB
- Self-contained and durable: no external case needed
- Dual-sided screen for fast testing with either hand
- Clear viewing lens keeps port clean while allowing visibility
- Lancing depth adjustment via intuitive finger pressure
- Fits in your pocket
Posted by Sara Jacobson
| 21 Sep 2011
The Mayo Transform Symposium was inspiring, yes. People from design, healthcare and corporations all came together and talked about what is going on in healthcare, and how we can work to change it. As mentioned in the first post on the conference, the complexity of changing that system is daunting, but several groups and individuals are tackling it in their own ways.
John Thackara further emphasized the theme of breaking out of a static hospitals-as-institutions structure, attacking the Mayo directly for the giant physical energy-depleting structures it embodies. He pointed out that 95% of healthcare happens outside the medical system—between caregivers and families (just as most of life happens outside the medical system.) Thackara argued that we need to see health and well-being as properties of a social-ecological context. His key point was that healthcare should not be about intervening in peoples' lives when needed, but rather being in them at all times, which then subverts any need for interference.
Architect Michael Murphy, co-founder of MASS Design Group, presented a perfect example of healthcare becoming part of the community in which it works with a project on a hospital he worked on in Rwanda. The Butaro Hospital was built in a beautiful, mountainous region where 400,000 people were underserved by 0 doctors. One of the biggest concerns in designing the hospital was to combat Extremely Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, which is contracted via the air, when two strains of TB mix. In the design of a standard hospital ward in Rwanda, hallways provided an ideal mixing place for this deadly strain of TB.
To minimize air mixing, Murphy and his team designed the hospital itself as a preventative mechanism for TB. They created the hospital with several separate buildings, essentially removing all hallways from the basic architecture. Additionally, they used simple architectural methods to increase ventilation, with fans, UVGI lights in the ceiling to clean air, and high windows to move air in and out. Additional considerations were made toward patient experience, by designing rooms with patient beds pointed at windows rather than other sick patients.
Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation
Just as Murphy's Butaro Hospital is an example of Thackara's notion of healthcare being in communities at all time, so is the Center of Innovation itself. What may have been most inspiring about the whole conference is the work they are doing at CFI, their existence and the fact that they hold the Transform Symposium each year. Lorna Ross, Creative Lead and Manager of the CFI and her team are working on that exact principle of being in the community that they are working to change—in one of the most advanced medical facilities in the world.
Posted by Sara Jacobson
| 13 Sep 2011
The complexity of the healthcare system is hard to wrap your head around. Even (maybe especially) after a long day of conversing on and listening to ideas on the topic. The Mayo Transform2011 Symposium seeks to both open up and tear down this complexity, with its varied roster of passionate people working in a tough arena where the past, present and future in healthcare converge.
And hospitals are (or should be) a thing of the past in healthcare. At least, hospitals as we think of them: giant institutional campuses where we go when we are sick. (That this came up repeatedly today at the Mayo Clinic, one of the most renowned of these institutions, is indicative of the terrific work being done there.)
As many of the speakers noted today, the key to future healthcare is in designing for the patient, from a holistic perspective, rather than merely at the touchpoint of the hospital. The most insightful and exciting ideas expressed at Transform were with those finding the opportunities to break away from the institution of the traditional hospital.
The concept was exemplified in the breakout session, "Unlocking the Power of Sharing Data," in which the speakers emphasized the necessity and eventuality of every individual's health records being in a shared system for managing their health. This concept immediately seems scary—health data is private, and very personal. To share it, or have it sitting on some server somewhere, feels exposed.
Posted by Sara Jacobson
| 24 Aug 2011
3D3A's Anechoic Chamber
Have an awesome, show-off worthy, surround-sound stereo system at home? Apparently, no matter how high-fallutin' that sound gets, you aren't hearing it in 3D. "Pure Stereo 3D Audio" to be exact. Whereas surround-sound systems literally, well, "surround" you with audio, 3D sound plays the audio correctly spatially—so that what is on your left is actually heard on the left, and same with the right. Edgar Choueiri, rocket scientist by day, audio engineer by night developed Pure Stereo 3D Audio, recently unveiled by Kurt Andersen of NPR's Studio 360.
Choueiri is Director of Princeton's Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab, and thanks to his audiophile obsession and a grant from Princeton, also their 3D Audio and Applied Acoustics Lab. The phenomenon is best explained in the Studio 360 story and the 3D3A site, but as we understand it, Choueiri developed a digital filter applied to the audio signal, which eliminates "crosstalk," freeing up rich sound already on the recording. Crosstalk is the interference that naturally occurs in stereo when the right ear hears interference sound from the left, and vice versa. Prior to Choueiri's breakthrough, crosstalk cancellation had been attempted, but always produced problems in the tone of what we hear.
Studio 360 has some samples of water splashing for listening, embedded below, and some music samples in the story. There really is something noticeably different and rich in the sounds. To listen, sit equidistant between your left and right speakers.
Posted by LinYee Yuan
| 3 Aug 2011
Today, the BMW Guggenheim Lab launched their 6-year global tour; first stop: New York City's East Village. Part think tank, part exhibition space, part public forum, the LAB explores challenges facing today's cities and bustling urban populations through a carefully curated program of events. Over the next 2.5 weeks, five LAB Team members grapple with the theme of "Confronting Comfort" through over 100 free public programs—workshops, speakers, exhibitions and screenings. Kicking off the series, tonight the LAB hosts a screening of the documentary Blank City, which chronicles avant-garde filmmaking and renegade movements of New York City in the '70s and '80s.
The five LAB members are a mix of global thinkers and local activists—Omar Freilla (Founder of Green Worker Cooperatives, Bronx), Charles Montgomery (Journalist and Urban Experimentalist), Olatunbosun Obayomi (Microbiologist and Inventor) and Studio ZUS (Architects and Urabnist). A true public experiment, the theme of "Confronting Comfort" hopes to explore how urban environments can be made more responsive to peoples' needs, how a balance can be found between modern notions of individual versus collective comfort and how the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility can be met. Speakers include Elizabeth Diller, Sakia Sasson, David Simon, Juliet Schor, Interboro Partners, Assaf Biderman and Jake Barton.
BMW Guggenheim LAB New York City site before construction
Nestled between two buildings, the LAB is housed in a mobile structure by Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow. The architecture serves as a sort of public theater for staging programming. With a loggia serving as architectural inspiration, the bi-level, open-air space is structured like a traditional theater with a fly system of rigs suspending a "toolbox"—for changing over the space from program to program—in the upper level to create a multi-functional and flexible open-loft floorplan.
Posted by core jr
| 27 Jul 2011
As a special thank you, Core77 readers can receive a discount to this year's symposium.
Register today by selecting "Group Fee." Under: "How did you hear about Transform?" check "OTHER" and note Core77.
Core77 is proud to be a Media Sponsor for this year's Transform2011 symposium, hosted by the Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation in Rochester, Minnesota. A groundbreaking multidisciplinary gathering, Transform2011 will focus on the challenges of the health care delivery system through the lens of design—disruptive ideas, innovation, social media, games, technology development, advocacy, environments and shifting populations. The focus of the annual symposium is to encourage partnership, participation and engagement from professionals across disciplines with a common goal to affect change in the healthcare delivery system.
This year, Transform has invited a powerhouse of design thinkers and business leaders to participate in the symposium including William Drenttel (DesignObserver), John Thackara (Doors of Perception), Mariana Amatullo (Designmatters), Chris Hacker (Johnson & Johnson), James Hackett (Steelcase) and our own Allan Chochinov, just to name a few. We recently told you about a unique opportunity to be part of the conversation through the iSpot challenge and gave you a look into the Mayo Clinic CFI's design process. Today we're digging in a little deeper to learn more about the potential of design to transform our current healthcare delivery system.
Transform2011: Designing Solutions. Inspiring Health.
Core77 had an opportunity to speak with two of this year's speakers: Doug Powell (AIGA and HealthSimple) and Maggie Breslin (Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation). Read on to hear more about their perspective on this year's conference.
When Doug Powell's daughter Maya was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he and his wife Lisa Schwartz Powell embarked on a project to create a well-designed tool to help demystify and manage the disease. The result was Type1Tools, a kid-friendly, intuitive educational product with an emphasis on colorful graphics and simplified information. In 2005, the Powells created HealthSimple to bring their approach to a broader audience. As a designer who has worked to bridge the gap between design and the healthcare industry, Powell has a unique perspective on the ways that design can help shape the future of the healthcare industry. Powell explains the urgency and importance of bringing designers and healthcare professionals to the same table:
We need to illuminate to the embedded leaders in the healthcare community what the real opportunity is and the breadth of that opportunity. In certain pockets, design is being implemented and utilized really pretty effectively. For example, the Mayo Center for Innovation is really a leader in this space—in patient room design they look at what that environment is like and what opportunity is there to create an experience for the patient that has a potentially positive effect on their health. That's revelatory; that's really a huge, huge step. But, at the same time there's lots of open opportunity for designers to effectively make our case. Thus far, we've done an okay job of that but we need to continually do better to refine our story, keep finding new ways to connect with that audience and introduce new examples of effective design in the healthcare space.
Maggie Breslin, Senior Designer/Researcher at the Center for Innovation, pioneered the role at the Mayo Clinic in 2005. The organization was one of the first groups to embrace design as an inroad to healthcare solutions, bringing designers in-house in the mid-aughts. With a background in communication and media, Breslin brings a unique perspective to not only her role at the Center for Innovation, but also as a a designer. We spoke with Breslin about the importance of storytelling and the role of design in working to bring about new solutions for the healthcare delivery system.
Core77: Can you kind of tell us a little bit about just the importance of storytelling in your work, both as a designer and the Mayo Clinic?
Maggie Breslin: One of the sort of mini founding principles of the Center for Innovation is this real commitment to the idea that you can be multi-disciplinary and that any kind of solution to our healthcare delivery problem is going to come by bringing people together who haven't normally been at the table to think about the problem and to think about solutions and to really engage each other in the way of advancing ideas.
Posted by core jr
| 22 Jul 2011
Imagine a chronic disease, so widespread that it could affect 1 in 3 Americans by the year 2050. Currently 100 million people in the United States lives with diabetes. Sanofi-aventis U.S. believes combining Data, Diabetes, and Design will impact our nation's wellness significantly. The global health care provider is sponsoring the first-ever open innovation challenge combating the diabetes epidemic by integrating open data with a human-centered view into diabetes epidemic.
"Innovation" has many definitions—for this Challenge, they're not looking for the cleverest idea, the best eye-candy, the most bleeding-edge technology. They are looking for a solution that brings together the strength of insight enabled by open data sets and the empathetic connection provided through human-centered design to meaningfully help people living with diabetes in the United States.
Building on the spirit of a code-a-thon, the challenge casts the widest net for data-informed diabetes solutions, culls the best interventions and incubates the strongest ideas. This challenge is structured to drive entrepreneurship and innovation. The best and most human-centered ideas will be mentored by industry leaders, and all intellectual property and equity will remain the property of its creators. Total awards top $200k, and invaluable support will be provided for game-changing solutions.
Hurry, submissions end on July 30th but the good news is that the entry form is short! See full breakdown of the Awards after the jump and check out the schedule and jury, which includes Todd Park, the CTO of the United States Department of Health and Human Services!