Type: 3rd year project
Duration: 3 months
Objective: To redesign an existing product within a particular product category, focussing on incremental innovation in a specific market segment. The project was divided into three distinctive phases; research, definitive design, and final design.
Product Selected: I chose to redesign a portable blood pressure monitor, more specifically a wrist worn blood pressure monitor. My goal was to meet unaddressed needs while supporting and progressing user ventures.
Loop allows for use with a smartwatch or without if paired with a bluetooth smartphone. If paired with a smartphone the information is displayed through its interface.
Latest optical sensors allow for continuous monitoring to provide daily average readings instead of relying on a couple a day.
Once a measurement is performed, it will place it into a category (i.e. low, regular, high). While providing lifestyles tips to help control blood pressure.
Loop interface is informative and intuitive. By displaying the app through the users existing device, allows for quick adaption and a small learning curve. The main goal for the interface is to be as informative as possible and not to leave users with unanswered questions.
On the go readings are done in the background and will not require time set aside to asses ones blood pressure
Ease of Use
All information is displayed through existing devices interfaces, no need to learn a new system.
Designed to blend into the users lifestyle and not stand out as a medical device.
Recording blood pressure on the wrist can be done with a few different techniques. The most common is the oscillometric method where an air bladder inflates until the arteries are fully closed, then slowly opens them back while sensing the blood pressure.
Blood pressure is recorded from the two arteries in the wrist, but the radial artery is much closer to the surface of the skin, making it the preferred artery for measurements.
Problem: Currently there are no approachable blood pressure monitors on the market that are within most users budgets. Customers have to choice between a bulky medical device or an expensive wrist watch that replaces their everyday watch. Neither of these monitors provide continuous monitoring and rely on a couple readings a day, which will vary depending on the situation the user is in, resulting in irregular readings and misunderstanding.
Hypertension is the most common heath condition amongst smart watch users, which makes up over a quarter of the market.
1 in 3 people in the U.S. are unaware of having hypertension and are not able to control it properly.
Current Pain Points
• Customers have to decide between an awkward medical monitor or an expensive watch alternative
• Devices resemble a medical care device and are bulky
• Most monitors are not easily portable
• Take a few minutes to preform a reading
• Users are left with just two numbers aren’t sure how to interpret their readings
Goals for my monitor
• Be approachable, blend into the users lifestyle
• Non-medical use, ideal for general wellness purposes and preventative concerns
• Increase the daily readings and provides a daily average
• Once numbers are displayed, suggest lifestyle improvements if the reading is concerning
• Provide information after readings are displayed and display where the users blood pressure stands compared to others
Brief: To create a third party wrist band that can attach to existing smartwatches and accurately records blood pressure on the go while displaying it through the existing smartwatch. This way users wont have to replace their everyday watch.
For my initial ideation I had two ideas. First, was an isolated and shrunken version of a regular oscillometric monitor that targets the radial artery. Second, was an approach to remove the air bladder to reduce size and replace the pressure of the air with a manual lever to tighten the wrist band
*Due to covid-19 I was only able to perform user testing with my roommate. Recorded from point of view.*
I performed user testing using a prototype to test if users can locate the radial artery properly. Additionally two existing watch straps were used to mimic the lever mechanism motions.
• Housing of the sensor is easily miss placed from the artery which would result in a false reading
• Tightening the strap with enough tension was difficult with one hand
• Extra step of the lever mechanism was tedious and does not speed up the time for a measurement
• This extra step to tighten the band was described as taking the watch off and on again, not ideal
Pivot Point: I realized that I was focusing too much on designing a band for a specific watch and I was neglecting other market segments. I then decided to make the band able to work independently from a smartwatch with an accompanying smartphone, while still being able to attach to a smartwatch
Pivot Point: With consultation, I was informed that the isolated oscillometric mechanism would not provide enough pressure on the wrist to properly record blood pressure. I had to switch the sensor technology completely and decided on recently FDA approved optical sensors for there minimal size and medical standard accuracy.
By switching to the band working independently from a smartwatch, I added a loop to replace the watch face.
This loop would be made of similar materials to a watch housing and be easily interchangeable.
The idea behind the loop is to mimic a bracelet without having signs of a medical or smart device.
Bands attach by velcro sections and quickly slip in and out of either the watch lug connector or the loop buckle.
I would like to thank Brian Brigham and Dr. Robert Gros for the assistance I received during this project. I reached out to Brian Brigham and was fortunate to receive guidance through periodical virtual meetings during the design process and final stages of Loop. I would also like to thank Dr. Gros for his recommendation on the emerging technology that I was able to incorporate.
“It looks much more resolved than the concept you shared previously from an aesthetic stand point. Strong work!”
- Brian Brigham
Senior Designer at OMRON Healthcare
“Looks fantastic and I love the ability to wear with or without the watch face, I hope that the future indeed will allow more Canadians to use devices like yours”
- Dr. Robert Gros
Vice-Presisdent and Director, Hypertension Canada
Director, CFI Laboratory of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Phenotyping