A smart tangible ventilation interface
Aero°- A smart tangible ventilator interface
10 weeks, Fall 2017, Umeå Institute of Design
Research, Academic paper, Co-creation workshop, GUI Interaction flow, Tangible electronics-mechanical prototyping.
A live student project done with the collaboration with Getinge, a global medical technology company during the 1st semester of MFA IxD, UID. The aim was to envision the future of anesthesia 2032. Our solution, Aero° - a tangible ventilation interface not only brings in a systemic change in the current anesthesia practice but also proposes a novel interface for the future healthcare industries.
Aero° is tangible ventilator system that provides an individualized anesthesia strategy to patient and facilitates the professional nurse to skip all the guesswork. It achieves it by making previously hidden lung information accessible before and during surgery by introducing smart sensors and tangibility in the workflow.
Student Design Challenge, TEI 2018. The ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) addresses issues of human-computer interaction, novel tools and technologies, interactive art, and user experience.
The Concept Video
Ventilation is a foundational part of the anesthesia process during surgery. However, the current ventilators uses a GUI (graphical user interface) to communicate lung data. Even though the parameters on the GUI is vital, it is slow and limits the capacity of the nurse to perceive the intrinsic quality of breathing. This affects the nurse’s decision making and perform an individualized patient treatment in the OR (Operating room)
The nurses use statistical generalization and experience to set the ventilation parameters. Because of this, over 90% of patients undergoing surgery, regardless of gender age, health condition or length of surgery, experience Atelectasis, a lung collapse that may affect part or all of the lung.
Reference: Tusman G, Bohm SH, Warner DO, Sprung J: Atelectasis and perioperative pulmonary complications in high-risk patients. Curr Opin Anesthesiol 2012, Feb;25:1-10
A systemic change
Manipulation: The hybrid interface can be manipulated in AUTOMATIC MODE (prescribed values from the sensors) or MANUAL (the professional nurses still need a control over the art form of anesthesia)
Feedback: The critical conditions are informed with multi modal feedback which can be monitored peripherally in a context that demands multi tasking.
Aero° tangible hybrid: Aero° translates breathing graphs into responsive dynamic forms informing critical changes making previously hidden and qualitative data accessible
Aero° tangible hybrid: It is easier for the nurse to interpret and visualize the status of the patient at any given moment. The pre-lung data eliminates the statistical generalization
A Systemic change
Aero° smart ventilation and sensors: The hospital benefits with time and money. Because, the nurse no longer performs the manual ventilation, reducing the process by a whole step
A global issue
Aero° system: The anesthesia nurse can perform individualized ventilation strategy to prevent major lung collapse issues and take appropriate lung protective strategies
Making of Aero°
We started off with in-depth contextual inquiry in Umea University hospital, Gentinge R&D head quarters, observed anesthesia procedure and real time surgery in operating rooms in Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.
Making sense of data
The raw data gathered were manifested in the form of cutouts, scenario models, role play. We sharpened our findings with our desk research on academic papers and online articles on anesthesia. We compiled all qualitative observations and quantitative data, mapping everything into before, during, after timeline
Findings: A lack of holistic information transferred to the hospital about the patient vital organs. This forces nurses to take lung estimations based experience.
What if: What if we could collect and share patient data with hospitals early to optimize the anesthesia practice?
Value: Reduce the critical problems during and after anesthesia, reduce cost and stay in ICU.
Findings: Anesthesia is toxic has post-operative complications, if administered incorrectly. Hence, the type, dosage, and the rate of injection are vital.
What if: What if we could optimize the quality of information about drugs to reduce postoperative complications ?
Value: Minimize agent usage, assist the nurse in decision making.
Findings: Many patients face anxiety in the OR before surgery. This anxiety increases blood pressure level, heart rate. Therefore, they require more sedative drugs.
What if: What if we could create a patient experience before surgery that builds trust and reduces anxiety?
Value: Reduce postoperative complications, Increase the quality of care.
From keynote to co-creation
The research themes were physicalized in the form of posters, live streams, and co-creation activities. Co-creation was used as an active tool to engage stakeholders and get multiple perspectives. We narrowed down our themes with the clients interest in ventilation, constraints, and team stance, deciding to go ahead with Qualitative data.
Iterative co-design with the user
After a series of visits, low-fi concepts and engagement. It was confirmed that ventilation is the most important part of anesthesia and the nurse still struggle to get a clear overview of the lungs. Providing critical information at the right time about the patients lung will support the nurse to: 1. Make informed decisions 2. Perform individualized ventilation strategies 3. Prevent atelectasis 4. Reduce postoperative complications.
Aero° tangible hybrid
Using hand as an interface between mind and the material
After synthesizing the information and informing ourselves, We created various artifacts to communicate, manipulate the breathing data from the lungs by exploring different type of physical variables e.g. resistance, pressure, stiffness to mimic the haptic feedback of the lung. I took the responsibility to work on the breathing mechanisms, light feedback prototyping and drafted the tangible hybrid interaction flow in parallel.
TUI (Tangible User Interface)
testing and FEEDBACK
Each of the prototypes had its own individual strengths and shortcoming in terms of qualitative and quantity data (for example, qualitative parameters like air distribution, breathing rate are easy to communicate with TUI. However, quantitative parameters like oxygen saturation pCo2/pO2, PEEP couldn't be communicated with TUI, thus require a GUI. This inspired us to design the GUI of current ventilation machine
GUI (Graphical USER interface)
Towards a tangible hybrid
We built a tangible hybrid that combines GUI & TUI, physical input with a rough and fine adjustment, light and haptic feedback
This ten weeks project would not have been possible without my teammates Carolyn, Martina, our friend Jonas, anesthesia nurse, Umea University Hospital. I think that working on a single project for long teaches us a lot of things. First, We might get insights into our research even in the eighth week (what may look obvious now, it took us six weeks to discover that breathing data could be collected before the anesthesia). Second, even though design sprints are good in the middle of the project, we should not get seduced by initial ideas (Unless we want to make a hologram interface), because they are not informed with core research, infrastructure, and institutional constraints. Moreover, they don't add value to the context, user or clients. Third, we should get our hands dirty with prototypes as early as possible, at least those stuff would help us to communicate with the team or maybe spark a conversation. Fourth, we should always go back to the user and test whether we are going way out of the values (it's easy to lose track of research > concept > final solution in a long project), but we should not take them literally (After the first visit to hospital, one nurse said if you are making one of those VR glasses for me, make it pretty).
"Aero smart tangible user interface is a result from ten weeks of extensive research, prototyping and iteration. The interface addresses the limitations of current user interfaces by making the invisible phenomena of breathing visible. It envisions the next generation of interfaces that supports humanization of data."