Designing a digital inhaler

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktutveckling

Abstract: Untreated asthma limits the ability to live an active life, still many asthmatics does not have the level of control over their asthma as they could have. In addition, about 50% of the asthmatics use their inhaler incorrectly, which affects the result of the medicine negative. The asthma inhaler is central in an asthmatics living and has great potential for de- velopment towards a modern asthma monitoring tool and could possibly improve the user’s overall asthma knowledge. This thesis was done as a collaboration with Zenit Design AB and Iconovo AB and the object of the project was a generic inhaler from Iconovo’s inhaler platform. The mission for the thesis was to explore possibilities, solutions and designs for a connected inhaler in order to increase and improve the asthmatics ́ use of asthma medicine. The overall goal with the project was to localize user needs and discover ways to implement electronics into the inhaler in order to solve the needs and improve the user experience. In the initial phase, research was done through literature studies and interviews with asthmatics and asthma professionals, providing a broad understanding of asthma and how it is to live with asthma. By de ning user needs and problems with today’s asthma inhalers the design process was initiated. Thinking entrepreneurial and developing the product by the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) approach, the function of the inhaler was initially designed with just enough features to solve the main user needs. Added to the entrepreneurial approach was an own method - to advance the MVP with additional functions in order to ful l more user needs and improve the asthmatics inhalation technique. When a superstructured MVP was set, the project evolved into a small system containing an inhaler with a detachable module and a belonging mobile application. The three components – the inhaler, the module and the app – was designed and developed in an iterative process. In the end, through playing with light and sensors, a digital asthma/COPD inhaler was designed to aid the patient to use their inhaler correctly. When using the inhaler, the attached module registers and communicates data to the app. The app, in turn, processes the information and presents data and the numbers to users and caregivers to give them insights into the asthma conditions.

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