CONSULTANCY | PRODUCT DESIGN | MECHANICAL ENGINEERING | PCBA DESIGN | UI/UX DESIGN | SOURCING | PRODUCTION
HIGO TELEMEDICINE DEVICE
Higo is a high-tech, but user-friendly telemedicine diagnostics device for the population which can monitor a huge amount of symptoms at home and enables digital contact with a certified clinician. During the clinical trials it was discovered that this same device is also capable of monitoring and detection of COVID-19.
Besides being a helpful tool to determine whatever illness you might have from home and advising how to treat an injury; Higo is a great solution for parents as well. One of the most stressful moments a parent can have, is when their young child gets sick and not knowing what is wrong with their little one. Often so, symptoms of sickness can occur in the middle of the night or in weekends, when clinicians are not readily available and thus leading to even more stress. Understandably nobody wants to wait in a fully packed emergency room where there is an additional risk of getting in contact with more viruses and bacteria.
Higo is an innovation from Horizen which is a start-up accelerator from Warsaw (Poland). Studio Mango was contacted early 2019 to execute all the design & engineering work to bring their idea to life. The kicker was that the device had to be realized and certified by a notified body within that same year which is a huge challenge to achieve for any medical device, particular for one that is as innovative as Higo. Higo is the digital doctor that fits in the palm of your hand; a telemedicine diagnostics device with certified clinicians providing a diagnosis from the Higo back office who are available 24/7. In a real life scenario when a child wakes up feeling sick in the middle of the night, a parent can perform several body exams guided by this device. The data of these exams are sent to the available clinicians at the Higo back office where they will advise parents on how to provide care and what steps to take next. All of this can be done from home without the need of visiting the emergency room. Telemedicine devices also relieve the workload in emergency rooms as there is no need for personal visits if the online clinician has diagnosed that only medication is required. So, what makes this device so innovative? Higo brings 9 different exams together in one affordable solution aimed for mass market adaptation. Each of these exams had to be clinically validated as clinicians at the Higo back office would be basing their diagnosis on the data the devices are sending to them. The 9 procedures, which can be performed with 5 exchangeable modules, are:
- Throat exam
- Skin exam
- Ear canal and tympanic membrane exam
- Heart ausculation
- Heart rate calculation
- Auscultation of lungs
- Auscultation of abdomen
- Cough and breath registration
- Temperature measurement
Studio Mango worked alongside the teams of Higo, the electronics developer Zign Innovations and a host of doctor’s through all the design stages, quickly validating proof of concept prototypes and moving to a fully integrated working prototype within a time frame of 9 months. In this “pressure cooker” of design and engineering our team worked on the aesthetic design, ergonomics, optomechanical engineering, integration of electronics, graphic user interface (GUI), design for manufacturing, design for assembly, certification procedures and setting up production of the device.
One of the main challenges was cost control as a clinically validated digital otoscope costs around € 4.000,-. We had to create a device costing far less and which is also able to run 8 additional exams, besides the otoscope exam.
To make this possible everything had to be engineered from the ground up; as individual working devices in one kit would be far too expensive to lead to an affordable solution for the average household.
For that reason, we integrated all electronics in the main device, avoiding the need for 3 different (expensive) image sensors (camera’s). But as each of these exams are completely different and require their own unique settings and camera focus a lot of optomechanical engineering, lightguides design and prototyping had to be carried out to reach the desired working results.
Another main challenge is guiding inexperienced users through the medical exams, as it is to be expected that users can’t see the difference between a correct or incorrect measurement. When Higo starts up, users are given the choice to perform a full examination or a specific one. The main device automatically identifies which examination module is placed and gently guides the user through the examination procedure step by step. During each step it validates the correctness, before forwarding the collected data in one package to the clinician. The graphic user interface had to explain and comfort users during the examination procedures and process. The UI designers at Studio Mango worked closely together with Higo’s team, several doctor’s and focus groups (users of all age groups and parents of small children) to design, optimize and validate each step of the user interface.