Gas powered portable nebuliser for home therapy

Linde Innovation

Challenge
To simultaneously demonstrate both technical proof-of-principle and the look and feel of the end-consumer product within a short time span.

Approach
We developed two systems in parallel, creating both a ‘works like’ device to demonstrate technical feasibility and a ‘looks like / feels like’ device to explore consumer perceptions.

Outcome
A novel, patented, home use nebuliser system ready for use in consumer testing.

Team was asked by Linde Innovation to help design and develop a gas powered portable nebuliser for use in the home. Linde Innovation had an idea for using small cylinders of compressed gas to create a fine mist of liquid which could be inhaled and used to treat a variety of respiratory conditions. Linde Innovation needed to simultaneously demonstrate technical proof-of-principle and begin evaluating various product embodiments in consumer trials.

With clear goals set, our cross-functional team of designers, engineers, scientists and usability / HF experts began developing a range of practical and grounded product concepts.

The project began with a start-up meeting where we agreed the timeline of work, captured the specific requirements of each device and began to explore the user interaction and visual language of the end-product.

With clear goals set, our cross-functional team of designers, engineers, scientists and usability / HF experts began developing a range of practical and grounded product concepts.

The technical proof-of-principle rig was designed, built and tested to demonstrate that liquid could be efficiently aerosolised / nebulised. The nebuliser performance was first evaluated in Team’s in-house laboratories before particle size distribution was characterised at a nearby test house.

engineering-test-rig-and-design-briefing

In parallel work began on developing a series of non-functional “looks like / feels like” device concepts. Consideration was given to all aspects of the product from unboxing and loading through to use, clean-up and storage.

Our industrial designers worked up a number of embodiments of the device, all the while developing this into a desired visual language. Our rough models and concepts helped to build a picture of how the device would be intuitive to use and communicate safety and reassurance in its performance for all user groups.

workshop-models-embodying-the-device

Throughout this process the mechanical engineering requirements of the nebuliser were fed into the industrial design activities to ensure that all of the product concepts which were created were realistic terms of size, weight, loading and usage.

 
Consumables

A further requirement of the project was to consider the product consumables, namely the liquid and micro-cylinders of compressed gas.

Our team came up with a robust and high-quality feel for these elements, enhancing user experience across all touch points of the device.

presenting-a-looks-like-prototype-final-outcome

 
The outcome

Team demonstrated that the product concept was feasible from a technical perspective and created a novel, robust and effective nebuliser system which Linde Innovation were able to patent.

Team also provided Linde Innovation with a highly refined “looks like / feels like” prototype of a home use nebuliser which accurately simulated the look and feel like a final product.

nebuliser-used-in-different-environments-polaroids

Linde Innovation were able to use this in consumer testing. Whilst design optimisation and design for manufacture were out of scope of this phase of work, we did provide estimates of the “factory gate” costs and a draft bill of materials to help with business planning.