Iterative Prototyping & Testing In The Development Of A Reliable And User-Friendly Dispensing Device For Medical Consumables
Authors: Young Mi Choi Ph.D., Wendell Wilson
Abstract: This project adressed by this paper was undertaken by two teams of undergraduate students in a Junior level design studio course within the School of Industrial Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The problem addressed by these students was identified and presented to the class by a local medical equipment manufacturer. In a brief that was provided to the class, the sponsor described the need for a reliable dispensing system for N-95 Masks to be used in the clinical environment. It had been observed that masks are typically stocked in open cartons or in improvised arrangements of repurposed baskets/containers that may be stacked on shelves or attached directly to walls. Since the industry sponsor offers a wall mounted rail system to provide equipment management in healthcare environments, it was expected that any design concept proposed be compatible with this proprietary system. The sponsor also made it clear that the use of electrical power in the design of dispensing mechanisms should be avoided so “smart” solutions were not explored in the course of this project.After being briefed on the problem and goals of the industry sponsor, students began with background research intended to help identify and understand the needs of various users, existing solutions, the use environment, as well as specific developmental requirements. Based on this preliminary research, students developed design goals and design criteria to guide subsequent development of conceptual design solutions. Aside from making the design ergonomic and user-friendly to operate, easy to manufacture, and aesthetically acceptable, the over-arching design objective of this project was the development of a design which (1) could be easily loaded directly from mask packaging; and (2) could reliably dispense masks with minimal failures (including failure to dispense, dispensing of multiple masks at a time, incomplete dispensing of masks and miscellaneous jams of the dispensing mechanisms). To achieve this goal, it was necessary for students to undertake a process of iterative prototyping and testing of their design concepts in order to fine tune design detailing and optimize functionality. This paper details the process of how iterative prototyping and testing was utilized by students to fine-tune their design concepts into reliable and user-friendly N-95 mask dispenser solutions. This effort was unique and educationally significant in that the typical design studio project results in conceptual solutions that seldom need to undergo such testing and refinement.
Keywords: : Iterative Prototyping, Medical Consumables, Industrial Design, Dispensing Device, N-95 Mask
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