Medical devices don't have to be 'boring and beige'

Award-winning designers prove medical technology can be user-friendly and eye-catching

The Revitive IX circulation booster from Team Consulting and Actegy Health proves that good design can be modern and eyecatching

Manufacturers have proved that medical devices don’t have to be ‘beige and boring’, with UK firms picking up five prizes at this year’s Red Dot Awards .

Medical devices don’t need to be beige and boring. In fact the look and feel of a product can play a big part in encouraging compliance

A circulation booster that helps to improve blood flow in the feet and legs, an electronic magnifier, and a next-generation lancing device are among the technologies singled out for praise in the national design competition.

Four of the products, which were designed and manufactured in the UK, have been awarded the coveted Red Dot design accolade, with another securing an honorary mention in the 2012 competition, the results of which were announced this week.

A team of 30 international judges looked at more than 4,515 entries in 19 different categories under the Product Design title, awarding Red Dots to 1,058 of those and giving 179 honourable mentions. There were also 62 Best of the Best Awards given.

All entries were judged on selection criteria including degree of innovation, ergonomics, functionality, durability, ecological soundness and emotional content.

The five UK winners were singled out in the Life Sciences and Medicine Category . They included Revitive IX, a circulation booster designed by Team Consulting for Actegy Health.

The elderly appreciate good design as much as everybody else, but we do need to avoid alienating them through complex user interfaces and technology

Due for launch next month, the device is aimed at people with circulatory disorders as a result of old age, illness or disability. It uses electrical stimulation and an exclusive Isorocker system to significantly increase the blood flow in the feet and legs, helping to avoid serious outcomes ranging from chronic pain to leg amputation and even death.

Paul Greenhalgh, director of design at Team Consulting, said the award was proof of the importance of good design, telling BBH that devices need to be simple to use, but nice to look at. He added: “Winning this globally-recognised award means everything to us. Medical devices don’t need to be beige and boring. In fact the look and feel of a product can play a big part in encouraging compliance. With the Revitive IX we’ve proved that you don’t need to talk down to the elderly and sick. They appreciate good design as much as everybody else, but we do need to avoid alienating them through complex user interfaces and technology. With so much of our work shrouded in secrecy, it is great to be able to show the world that through intelligent design we can make things better and to receive the recognition for us and our client.”

Josh Penny, managing director at Actegy Health, added: “We recognised that in order to maintain our premium market position we needed to innovate and launch an iconic product that had a strong medical/therapeutic aesthetic, but at the same time would appeal to consumers in a retail environment. This award is a massive stamp of approval across what we’ve done.”

With so much of our work shrouded in secrecy, it is great to be able to show the world that through intelligent design we can make things better and to receive the recognition for us and our client

Also awarded a Red Dot was the Crystal video magnifier developed by Ash Technologies and Eschenbach and designed by Irish-based company, Dolmen.

Specifically tailored for the UK and Irish low vision and magnification markets, the device combines traditional high-quality illuminated lens magnifiers with an unbeatable magnified image technology blended with a modern design and aims to set a new benchmark for portable magnifiers.

The Accu-Chek FastClix was one of two products by Roche and Kinneir Dufort to be awarded Red Dot status

And there was a brace of awards for supplier, Roche, and design partners at Kinneir Dufort, which won the accolade for both the Accu-Chek FastClix lancing device and the Accu-Chek insulin pump cartridge filling system.

An honourable mention also went to Arc Medical’s Endocuff, manufactured by Boddingtons Technical Plastics and designed by DesignEdge Cambridge. A simply disposable sleeve, the product slips onto the end of conventional colonoscopes to improve mucosal vision and enhance tip control.

In the end, the design of a product is the most important incentive for the purchase decision of a consumer

Professor Dr Peter Zec, initiator and founder of the Red Dot Awards, said: “Companies have realised that investing in design offers a considerable added value. In the end, the design of a product is the most important incentive for the purchase decision of a consumer.

“The Red Dot is not only an excellent marketing tool which generates a high degree of attention; it also serves as indicator for the creative performance of designers. Thus, these creative heads gain recognition for their work and companies can find out which designers achieve above-average results.”

All Red Dot winners will go on show at the Red Dot museum in Essen, Germany, for the next year, as well as being celebrated at a gala prize-giving event on 2 July.