Vision Tech contacted Studio Mango to design & engineer their first product line an adult and paediatric nasal speculum with integrated LED lighting. Nasal speculums are used by doctors to look inside the nose of a patient. The issue Vision Tech wanted to solve is that during such an inspection doctor’s either have to wear a headband with light which shines in the patients eyes or use a small flashlight to look inside the nose leaving no hand free.

Immediately we identified that the biggest challenge would be to integrate the electronics (LED, battery and PCBA) in such a small instrument as a speculum. On top of that speculums often need to be sterilized by an autoclave which means they are heated up to 121 or 134°C for at least 15 minutes. Electronics do not “thrive” in such conditions and most plastic materials also fail in such extremes. The most promising solution for this challenge we came up with our during concept development was to design a loose module for the electronics which could be easily replaced for recharging once the battery was empty and taken out for autoclave procedures. Essentially this module is a miniature flashlight, once inserted the LED illuminates a metal coated glass lightguide which projects the bright light inside the nose. The speculum and switch to turn on the light can be operated by one hand keeping the other free for procedures inside the nose.

All speculums on the market up until our development had a very generic, technical and clinical look and were fully made of stainless steel. Much of this is because of the fact that 95% of all medical instruments are manufactured in one city in Pakistan where most producers have not invested a lot in innovation. As this new speculum would have a completely new feature it needed to stand out from the competition. We found no reason why the instrument had to look so cold and clinical and persuaded Vision Tech to explore a direction where the speculum could look more friendly and on top of that improving the ergonomics was our goal. Aesthetics were upgraded, the standard speculum external spring was integrated for a much cleaner look and soft touch plastics were used for a warmer feeling and improved grip. For this project we partnered up with Raak Design to bring the product to life.

To enable the use of plastics for the speculum besides the standard stainless steel many autoclave tests had to be executed in our workshop to determine which materials would hold up over extensive periods of time. Most materials of which the specification sheets mentioned that they were suitable for autoclave procedures in practise did not withstand the real deal. But after testing dozens of materials several were identified which are used for the injection molded handles of the speculum.

Besides the development of the LED nasal speculum Studio Mango developed the manual and packaging / carry case.

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