Quick prototyping for healthcare – e-Fásli

 
 
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Viktor Horvath

Industrial Designer

The idea of e-Fásli comes from a young talented inventor Melinda Szegedi. She is a highschool student with a supporting family helping her to develop her ideas. She won several international competitions and had multiple presentations in events like CASTIC or The Junior Edison, a popular TV show in China.

The issue

Melinda once had a strong pain in her leg and she was looking for solutions to take care of her condition. Her father has a medical degree, so the having an interest in curing rund in the family. However, instead of taking pills, she found and tried a tranditional treatment that helped her, and she was thinking about, how to adopt the idea to the 21th century. The thermotherapy in a traditional way is covering the painful surface of the budy with cold and hot fomentation alternately.

Challenges

The main challenge came from the technical side. The adaptation of thermoelectric parts like the thermoelectric cooler (TEC) to a near-body situation. Our client had a basic working prototype, but its efficiency was not enough and the whole unit was not safe. For a long lasting, wirelessly controlled and efficient device we had to consider a lot of concepts and solutions. We had to make the device usable on three different bodyparts: on knee, on wrist and on the forehead. One big challange was to make it usable via WiFi and have the ability to control it with a samart phone.

Client’s first prototype

Client’s first prototype

Some parts sorted in the making

Some parts sorted in the making

The process

During the design process the development of the technical part and the hardware designing were going parallel. We did the tech and IT part in-house so the communiation went with ease in the team. We could iterate a lot to refine the final requirements and electronis parts.

The design team experimented a lot with 3D printed parts and diffirent type of textiles to make the device easy to use. One of our challanges was adopting the printed parts to the electronics which were changing over time. One of the most important part was the contact surface where the cooloing/heating device contacts with the skin. It had to be well conductive but as thin as possible. Our client had a strong visual idea of the product, we had to adopt some character with reserving a better balance and cleaner look.

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For the electronics the cooling of the device was a big challenge. In a normal case a big heat sink is needed to make such a big difference in temperature, but in our case we had to put it in a small place. From an efficiency point of view the team had to balance between a proper sized TEC with an as-small-as-possible heatsink and use them with a reliable sized battery pack. 

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Results

The system consists of two separate devices. The main device is the brain and the resource of eFásli, it contains the battery, the control board and IO ports. The other parts are the peripherals for different bodyparts. The final construction is made for demonstrative useage, so the main device has a window on the back to look inside. The client was satisfied in the end, we could work together and could clarify the questions and build the proof of concept model reserving the basic idea behind the product. 

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