A redesign of the battery charging systems that support the external devices in a Cochlear Implant system, undertaken in collaboration with Cochlear Ltd.
Issues with use and usability are the leading cause of medical device failures, with consequences ranging from minor frustration to serious harm. The prevalence and occasional severity of these errors have prompted medical device regulatory bodies, such as the FDA, to release guidance to assist medical device manufacturers to mitigate the risk of use errors, through design.
This project explored the application of elements of the FDA’s human factors and usability guidance to the production design of a battery recharging system in collaboration with Cochlear Ltd. – a leading manufacturer of implantable hearing prosthesis. Alongside this design project, co-design sessions were introduced to augment and enhance the approaches from regulatory guidance with user experience design methods, this approach lead to further design outputs produced collaboratively with medical device recipients; a portable charger, and a USB charging eco system. In addition to a core charging device with improved ergonomics and usability.
The inclusion of these more designerly methods within this medical device design project highlighted the valuable contribution that contemporary design research can make to the issue of designing medical devices for enhanced usability. Augmenting and enhancing the existing human factors approaches used in the field and specified by regulatory bodies.