- How can we make cystic fibrosis treatment more user-friendly?
- Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder affecting 60,000 people worldwide characterized by excessive mucus production in the lungs, frequent lung infections, and difficulty breathing. In the medical community, one of the best regarded treatments is percussive chest therapy (PCT) in combination with physical activity and breathing exercises.
We wondered, what does it feel like to have CF? What kinds of treatments exist, and how does the vest work? To find out, we did a lot of reading, watched multiple videos, read many blogs and forums, and even tried on the vests ourselves at Hasbro Children's Hospital to try and understand every aspect of this process.
- A 20-30 minute session wearing the vest loosens the mucus lining patients' lungs enough for them to expel it. This is repeated 2-10x a day depending on the severity of the patient's condition.
We returned regularly to Hasbro Children's Hospital to receive feedback on our ideas.
- Originally we sought to embed the generator system inside the vest, but after consulting the pulmonologists, we learned that this wouldn't be enough force to loosen the mucus in the lungs.
- The kids gave us tons of insight into the usability of the vest - surprisingly enough, none of them complained about the product at all, largely because they had grown up using it and thus had become accustomed to using it.Nevertheless, we saw a lot of room for improvement. The current model restricted the user to one place, was limited in its aesthetic design, and was cumbersome. We took the feedback of the patients, parents, and doctors into consideration when creating our final prototype.
- Final Prototype
Our final concept featured the generator as backpack, a form familiar to children. The weighted form would correct children's posture, and the portability would allow users to move more freely. We added customizability to the vest and ensured that the tubing, since it reaches around the child's arms, would not come undone.