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When a world-class company with a culture of innovation and design decides to redesign one of flagship products, the results need to be epic. Philips Ultrasound required their new ultrasound system to be robust, light, and highly-maneuverable, while also allowing a high degree of modularity and fast serviceability. All this in a package which does not compromise Philips’ purity of form and focus on the user’s needs. PI worked closely with Philips’ team across multiple locations to bring this product to life.
A cast aluminum skeletal sub-structure supports the upper assemblies and protects the main electronics module, which is accessible from all sides and field-replaceable in under five minutes. The hinging rear assembly allows the product to be highly-configurable for the customer’s needs, from storage of consumables to housing a soft tissue navigation system. The compact but rigid articulating upper structure allows the ultrasound technician to position the user interface easily and precisely to their needs while keeping the system close to the patient.
PI built several rounds of high-fidelity functional prototypes which could withstand Philips’ strict “torture test” requirements. All production CAD, documentation and full 3D tolerance analysis was developed within the client’s quality systems to ensure a seamless transition to the operations group.
Learn more about the Epiq 7 here.
ROVI had a vision: to provide a freedom of mobility & level of dignity to power wheelchair users; to make something users (and their friends) could get excited about; to make a wheelchair NOT look like a “medical product”.
Through multiple rounds of design iteration, PI was able to establish a new, unique aesthetic for ROVI that exceeded their goals and delighted their customers.
By focusing design attention on more visible external elements such as wheel hubs, suspension arms and fenders, and de-emphasizing the core, PI created a high-impact design that communicated quality, excitement and attention to detail.
(child photo credit: Rovi Mobility)
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Vacuum trimmers, although highly desirable from a user’s point of view, have proven to be a challenge to develop and market because of the conflicting needs of power and size. Larger impellor fans can create more suction, but the trimmer can’t be handled properly if it’s too big and bulky. So when Remington reached out to PI to develop the 4-in-1 Vacuum Trimmer, they were leveraging PI’s extensive experience with vacuum technology and engineering capabilities, along with design, to strike a crucial balance between performance and ergonomics.
For PI, the challenge was twofold: to develop the vacuum technology that could deliver maximum suction power in the smallest space possible, and; to create an ergonomic form comfortable for use in multiple hand-held positions.
To achieve this goal, every element of the vacuum system, from the shape of the impellor to the drive train, was custom designed, tested, and verified by PI’s engineering team to optimize performance. The entire air path, from intake through the collection chamber and out the exhaust vents, was configured to minimize turbulence and cavitation, while allowing the collection chamber to be easily removed for cleaning. The exterior was sculpted with a softly faceted form for comfort and grip in a variety of positions. Translucent blue sections highlight the air path and provide a visual indication of when the collection chamber is full.
The outcome of PI’s R&D, design, and engineering effort is a vacuum trimmer with more than twice the suction power of the competition in a sleek and stylish package.
As an acknowledgement of design excellence, the Remington 4-in-1 Vacuum Trimmer received a prestigious 2014 Red Dot Award.
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SENTIO SIERRA 101 PUTTERS
The vast majority of golfers decide which putter to by based on how it "feels". What makes “feel” personal is that every golfer has an innate expectation of how far the ball should roll with a given stroke. This was the inspiration for Sentio Golf - to develop a technology that gives golfers the power to choose the feel that best fits their game.
The idea that eventually led to the formation of Sentio began at PI as an internal brainstorm between partners Jim Varney and Bryan Hotaling. “As designers and engineers, we are constantly looking at how to improve things” explains Jim, who is President of the company. “And as an avid golfer, I was frustrated by a lack of innovation in putters. While companies were using space-age materials and high-tech processes in their drivers, many putters were literally unchanged since the 1960’s.” The partners focused their knack for innovation and knowledge of modern manufacturing on developing a new putter that could bring the kind of performance improvements seen in other current clubs, a process that would end up taking the better part of four years.
Sentio putters feature a patented floating face construction, which completely separates the stainless steel face from the rest of the putter head with a vibration-dampening thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) polymer core, using a process called insert molding. This softens impact while keeping some of the "pop", which helps maintain good distance control.
The company’s introductory line of blade putters, called Sierra 101, comes in Soft, Medium, and Firm models, each color-coded TPE core delivering a different response off the face.
More information can be found at Sentio's website:
Gene Sequencing System
RainDance partnered with PI to help develop a high through-put platform for their Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) target enrichment system.
PI was brought in at the very early stages to develop a system architecture that could support the team’s goals for usability, performance, manufacturability, and service.
In collaboration with the client, an options matrix was created to capture all variables in play for the new platform, from the basic form factor of the device to how it manipulated consumables and processed waste products. PI then iterated on these variables in brainstorm sessions, illustrating with quick thumbnail sketches the basic ideas and potential solutions for each variable. These thumbnails allowed the team to more easily weigh the options and begin down-selecting and combining them into sets for further development.
Through the process of down-selection, a basic system form began to take shape. To evaluate layout options our design team built basic volumetric models of key components for users to manipulate and interact with in physical space.
The successful collaboration with PI early in the instrument's development was beneficial to the client and user in several ways:
-Layout optimized for its environment
-New & used chips easily accessible and separated
-Left-to-right flow of inputs and outputs within color coded and labeled zones
-Liquid consumables located at front to minimize spills
-Open deck for ease of access
-Large but compact door
-All service access from front
The Raindance Thunderstorm System was recognized with a Good Design Award and a Red Dot Award, both in 2012.
MEVION MEDICAL SYSTEMS
Mevion Medical Systems is dedicated to advancing the treatment of cancer through radiation therapy. Its flagship product is the MEVION S250 Proton Therapy System, and Product Insight appreciated the opportunity to work on this ground-breaking system with the Mevion team.
The goal of this system was to preserve all of the treatment benefits of traditional proton treatment systems but to remove issues surrounding cost, complexity and size of equipment. The system makes proton therapy available and affordable and is utilized with both pediatric and adult cancer patients. The modern design of the equipment simplifies the treatment process and makes it more reliable and easier to run. Its design also allows it to be far less expensive to operate leading to millions of dollars of savings over the lifetime of the equipment. The modular treatment room design allows for easy integration into existing facilities with less capital outlay.
The S250’s high energy proton source makes it the world’s first superconducting synchrocyclotron. It dramatically reduces the size, cost, and complexity of proton acceleration and makes this important treatment possible for those who really need it.
DE SHAW RESEARCH
The Anton Supercomputer is a powerful tool designed to simulate changes in a protein’s 3-dimensional structure. Typically it takes an enormous amount of time to catch even a glimpse of a protein’s structure and its process of folding and unfolding. It is critical for scientists to understand these movements in order to study disorders like Alzheimer's disease and cystic fibrosis. A better understanding could yield new discoveries into these and other diseases and play a role in developing drugs to combat them.
Although Anton’s focus was on scientific discovery its design elements were also immensely important in order to meet the high standards required by D.E. Shaw. The interior of the company’s Manhattan offices has been featured at the MOMA for its leading-edge contemporary design; the Anton Supercomputer had to uphold this strong design legacy.
The final design was the result of extensive research into lighting and materials. A moiré pattern was created for the shell by creating two different random patterns, rotating one, and overlaying them. Numerous structures and substrates were explored to achieve the desired amount of light, the perfect color and optimal energy efficiency to meet parameters for ongoing power consumption.
47 research groups vied for valuable research time with Anton and its simulations have proven to be 100 times faster than conventional supercomputers. Product Insight is proud to have been a part of this exciting initiative and looks forward to following Anton’s ground-breaking research results.
Photo credits: DESRES
InMotion Interactive Therapy enables clinicians to efficiently deliver intensive motor therapy to help patients regain motor function following a neurological condition or injury, such as stroke, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, or Parkinson’s Disease.
PI worked with Bionik to help bring this next-generation version of the InMotion Arm to life. The design derives inspiration from the functional core of the device itself - the twin opposed motors forming the central cylindrical column. The main electrical enclosure volume encircles and partially wraps around the central column, which can be adjusted vertically for proper ergonomics. The support legs radiate outward from the core for maximum stability in a footprint 40% smaller than previous iterations of the device.
The patient interacts with the device via the robotic arm and the adjustable table cantilevered from the front caster legs. The front of the device was carefully designed to allow full access for patients who are confined to wheelchairs.
When SharkNinja wanted to develop their next-generation of Shark brand premium vacuum cleaners, they teamed up with Product Insight to help meet their goals of industry-leading performance, exceptional usability, and speed-to-market. Several products were developed concurrently to address a variety of consumer needs and desires across multiple distribution channels.
Through in-depth use analysis, configuration explorations, form studies, and ergonomic evaluations, PI was able to uncover unique solutions and then quickly validate these design directions to keep development moving efficiently. Early explorations led to the design of the unique Professional Lift-Away vacuum, which instantly transforms from a fully-functional upright to a lightweight, hand-held pod-vac with the push of a single button. In fact, the integration of above-floor cleaning at the user’s fingertips became a hallmark of the entire line, along with Shark’s No-Loss-of-Suction (NLS) technology, HEPA filtration, and swivel steering.
Steam mops are a popular floor cleaning solution that is environmentally, pet, and child friendly, using tap water to generate hot steam to remove stains and help disinfect surfaces. Light-weight and easy to use, Shark's steam and spray mops are now some of the most popular and highly-rated on the market.
Shark partnered with PI on their first bespoke steam mop, the 3501. PI designed the mop from the inside out, solving for unique stress and strain issues inside a sleek, streamlined form. The 3501 was such a market success that the companies continued working together on many more projects over several years, expanding the design aesthetic and methodology across a rapidly expanding product line.
With success in establishing design-forward, cohesive line-ups for Shark's steam mop and vacuum cleaner segments, PI was tasked to develop a new range of garment care products that would embody the high design cues and keen usability that Shark is known for.
The 305, 405, and 505 model irons were envisioned as a good-better-best range, differentiated by feature set and finish but with a unified family aesthetic. All models include ergonomic handle designs and soft-touch elements on touch-points for comfortable use. Multiple material finishes and fresh color schemes provide a premium look to match the premium-level performance.
The Press & Refresh Garment Care System features a unique steamer and vertical pad that together allow users to steam and iron their clothing quickly without a traditional ironing board. The steamer features an ergonomic shape with the water tank above the hand for easy filling and weight balance: when the tank is filled, the center of gravity is at the base of the handle, making the steamer appear lighter than it is and making it very easy to maneuver the head into different positions with minimal torque on the wrist.
Safety 1st® launched the ProGrade™ line of home safety products in order to address the changing needs of today’s families. Different types of appliances, décor and living arrangements pose new hazards for young children. And although the Safety 1st® brand is a trusted one in the world of home safety, the marketing team felt that they needed to complement their core product line with a differentiated and updated program that met these new needs.
The PI team engaged in a great deal of upfront research to form a solid foundation for the concept development phase and to identify key areas of need in the home. Observations of real families, their safety-proofing habits and home environments all yielded important background information.
Parents needed to be secure that their children were safe, but the devices had to be easy to defeat for adults; if it's too hard to use, people won't use it at all.
PI developed robust mechanical solutions for each product leveraging their knowledge of human factors so that actuation was easy for adults but extremely difficult for children. For an additional level of safety, each design includes a green/red "flag" that indicates when it is secure vs. unsafe. Because these devices essentially become part of the home decor when in use, they were designed to be seen using high-end finishes such as soft-touch and metallic accents.
As we get older our muscle mass and bone density naturally begins to decrease. Unchecked, this can contribute to a negative spiral of reduced mobility and worsening health in our later years. Even though regular strength training is one of the best ways to reduce or even reverse age-related muscle and bone loss, the typical gym environment, with its complicated machines and macho vibe, isn't exactly welcoming to older patrons.
Koko Fitness approached PI with the essence of the problem: how do you make a piece of commercial-grade multi-gym equipment more approachable, friendly, and intuitive? The Smartrainer design shrouds the frame, weights, pulleys and cables in a smooth flowing form, emphasizing user touch points while downplaying mechanical complexity. Behind the scenes, a network of embedded electronic sensors monitors the movement of all components of the system and provides real-time feedback to the user via a movable touchscreen display. Users store their progress on a personal "Koko Key", which they insert into a USB slot in the display before every workout.
Originally imagined as a standalone piece of equipment, the Smartrainer is now the core of the Koko FitClubs, a network of fitness franchises spanning across the US. Click here to learn more about the Smartrainer.
DOREL JUVENILE GROUP
The stairs can be one of the biggest safety hazards for toddlers in the average home. Experts recommend placing a gate at both the top and bottom of stairs: at the top to prevent falls down the stairs, but at the bottom to prevent little ones from climbing up. But this presents a hazard to parents as they stand on the stairs to unlatch the gate, often with an infant or items in their arms. As one parent stated in an online review, “My problem is that I am over 6 feet so as you could imagine it was hard to lean over from the 2nd step, while holding a child, to unlock a typical gate.”
The solution to this problem was creating a curved shape so that the parent had a place to stand, both at the top of the stairs and on the landing at the bottom. The small space created by the curve allowed parents to more easily open the gate without balancing in a precarious spot. When used between rooms, the curved shape provided an enhanced view allowing children and pets to “step into” the next room and be a part of the family even while being limited to a safe area. The locking mechanism was designed so that the gate could be opened with one hand, leaving the other hand free to hold a baby or bags.
Another design challenge was making the Curve Gate an attractive addition to the décor as opposed to a traditional safety gate with vertical bars. To accomplish this, a clear plastic was chosen for the center portion; this created a see-through surface that allowed for an unobstructed view and easy cleaning.
The Curve Gate won a Bronze IDEA Award for its innovative design.
Often, a difficult situation is the most ripe for innovation. Nasal aspirators are both widely used (many hospitals send them home with new parents as essential baby-care items) and extremely unpopular. Not only is the task itself unpleasant, but parents find typical aspirators hard to use and difficult to clean. Previous offerings from Safety 1st were plagued with bad reviews due to a non-intuitive design: parents were squeezing the bulb incorrectly, but didn’t realize it, causing malfunction. When Safety 1st wanted to refresh their line of infant health products, they looked to PI to uncover the roots of their customer’s frustrations and propose a solution that would satisfy parent’s needs and re-establish Safety 1st as a market leader.
PI conducted a detailed market evaluation along with user surveys and interviews to establish a feature hierarchy and gain an understanding of where existing products had fallen short. Through this research a key insight emerged; having to remove the aspirator from the child’s nose to reset the suction made dealing with a sick and squirming child all the more difficult.
The PI team devised a unique solution that utilizes valves to create a one-way flow of air. This innovation allows parents to leave the aspirator in place while continuously applying gentle pulses of suction until the child’s airway is clear. Eliminating repeated cycles of “remove-squeeze-insert” makes the job go much faster, benefiting both child and parent.
The form of the One-way aspirator is driven by an understanding of the ergonomic needs of both parent and child. The off-center tip makes it easier to position the aspirator close to the child’s face, while the over-molded finger recesses provide visual and tactile feedback reinforcing a proper grip and intuitive actuation of the bulb. The shallow ovoid shape fits comfortably in the hand and helps prevent the flexible bulb from sticking or inverting when pressed, a common problem with other bulb aspirators. All parts disassemble easily for thorough cleaning.
Launched in 2013, the One-way Nasal Aspirator is part of the Advanced Solutions family of infant health products developed by PI for Safety 1st. PI’s experience in medical device design was leveraged in developing the brand language for the Advanced Solutions line, which features geometric forms, high-contrast touch points, and a clean, professional aesthetic. PI’s involvement in developing the Advanced Solutions program allowed Safety 1st to successfully meet their goals to develop meaningful innovation that addresses consumer needs, add delight in the experience of even mundane tasks, and secure valuable intellectual property for the business.
The One-Way Nasal Aspirator is the winner of an A' Design Award.
BioSMB™ is a technology that provides reduced costs and increased process efficiency in biopharmaceutical production. Flexibility is achieved through multi-column technology; its systems are designed with disposable components to be practical and functional within virtually all bioprocessing environments. Tarpon has a goal of “reducing the cost of therapeutics through unparalleled efficiency and flexibility of biopharmaceutical purification.” The design team needed to support this mission in its design.
Typically the setup for production of this type is complex; the considerable amounts of tubing can be confusing and unsightly. Effective management of the fluid, tubing and pathways were key in the design. The design team utilized an intuitive left-to-right flow for the series of pathways. Two arches, one on either side of the front panel of the main unit, were designed to route the tubing within the canals, keep the area neat, and protect the fluid lines.
Fluids run through the series of columns at the front of the unit; the columns can vary in size but must be held in front of the unit to allow for proper functioning. The design team developed a rack to hold the columns; the rack was removable and fit into fold-away arms that tucked inside the unit. This made the unit more compact - a major consideration for a system of this size - and allowed for better access for setting up fluid lines.
This equipment enables bio-manufacturers to purify a drug product (injectable dosage form) using ‘disposables’ while consuming 1/2 the water, 1/3 of the physical space, much less (up to 80% less) of the consumable materials and less energy; this decreases the need for creating energy intensive “clean steam” to purify fixed stainless steel piping (now the industry standard) thereby providing a ‘greener’ solution.
The Tarpon BioSMB was recognized with a 2011 IDA award and 2012 Good Design award for its innovative, intuitive design and positive ecological impact.
PROTERIXBIO (FORMERLY BIOSCALE)
The ViBE Workstation is a high-throughput platform developed to commercialize ProterixBio's core technology, known as AMMP. Acoustic Membrane MicroParticle (AMMP) technology is the novel integration of biological capture strategies, magnetic microparticles, and acoustic Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors, creating a highly-sensitive, non-photometric technique ideal for measuring biomolecular interactions in complex samples.
PI's design and engineering teams collaborated with ProterixBio to develop the ID of this innovative system as well as the structural chassis and manufacturing details for all components. The large door is mostly clear, helping to improve visibility into the system. Access into the system is made easier due to the purposeful positioning of the hinge point and lift assist gas springs. Service access into the rear compartment was considered from the beginning so that all panels could be easily removed and components serviced from the front, reducing down time and improving overall efficiency.
Learn more about the ViBE Workstation here.
The Alta™ MLS is the first modular dental laser allowing for versatility in soft tissue surgical applications.
IPG Medical called upon the PI team to make this laser system versatile, compact, portable and intuitive. The system is designed with a modular spool with handpiece support that can be interchanged to suit the surgeon’s needs. A soft, TPE material surrounding the spool’s perimeter both protects and manages the delicate optical fiber, allowing the surgeon to expose only as much as is needed.
Also adding to the system’s versatility is its ability to be used and installed in a variety of ways. The lightweight, portable design easily and quickly attaches to either a table stand or wall bracket for optimal use in multiple environments. The angle of the large display surface had to be carefully considered for optimal viewing in both configurations.
A clean, pure form language was developed to emphasize the simplicity and ease-of-use of this high-tech medical device. From a front view, the display surface is purposefully dominant to reduce visual clutter and allow the surgeon to quickly focus on the touchscreen interface.
The ThinPrep 5000 Processor is a benchtop unit designed to address specific customer needs, including walkaway automation for up to 20 slides per run. It provides fully automated slide preparation, including automated capping and de-capping of ThinPrep vials, and chain of custody verification. In addition, slides are directly output into stainer-ready racks.
The ThinPrep 5000 with Autoloader System is designed for walkaway flexibility in processing. The system provides continuous access to vials, consumables and processed slides for loading and unloading. With a capacity of 160 samples in a single run, the ThinPrep 5000 with Autoloader System provides users up to eight hours of walkaway time. It also provides laser slide etching of barcodes, which simplifies processing and helps ensure chain-of-custody.
The ThinPrep 5000 Processor and the ThinPrep 5000 with Autoloader System are both FDA approved for processing ThinPrep Pap tests, as well as Non-Gyn and UroCyte vials.
The SiCortex SC5832 is a radically denser and more efficient form of high-performance computer. By using ultra-low power components, the SC5832 fits in a single cabinet and uses less than 20 kilowatts of power.
The design solution is a computer cabinet unlike any seen to date. Instead of starting the circuitry at floor level, the SC5832 elevates its “card cage” several feet above the floor, leaving a large void for air to enter. This air is then sent, by a tray of fans, straight up through the circuitry and out the top, keeping the circuits cool.
Because the system will be installed in cramped quarters, its doors have been designed to lift directly up and out of the way for service, rather than out to the side where they would block aisles. The up-and-out travel of the doors does not block air exiting the top exhaust vent, allowing technicians to work directly with the doors open on a fully functional system (crucial for service).
The density of the SC5832 requires the management of a lot of cables in a very small space. The large vertical columns bulge slightly to accommodate cabling routed to external devices such as disk storage. These cables can exit either at floor level or out the top to go into elevated cable races common in computer rooms.