Blood Pressure Monitor for Pregnant Women

2020

The objective of this three-month third year studio project was to analyse a preexisting product and innovate it for a specific user group. In this case, the blood pressure monitor was chosen to be redesigned as a portable device for pregnant women, with special consideration for those suffering from preeclampsia.

There is ample opportunity to improve the blood pressure monitor for this user group in terms of aesthetics, portability, ease of use, symptom tracking, and information sharing with healthcare providers. 

Find the full report here.

The Problem

Tracking blood pressure is an essential part of prenatal and postpartum care, especially when the mother is at high risk of, or suffering from preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterised by the development of hypertension, and other signs of organ damage, which can be harmful, and even deadly, to the mother and fetus. Preeclampsia affects 5-7% of pregnancies and can go unnoticed until it is severe; this is where regular blood pressure monitoring can help highlight early warning signals. However, most blood pressure monitors on the market are not designed for the specific needs of pregnant women.    

Product Autopsy

An existing blood pressure monitor with a popular design was purchased to analyze the current use cycle, functionality, pain points, and internal components.

It was found to be difficult to store and transport because of the multiple components and wires. It was also found to be difficult to tighten the cuff without it sliding around the arm, and the appearance looked outdated and bulky.

Preliminary Ideation

The initial concepts were centred around having the display screen, cuff, and charging system stored as a single unit. This system features a slot attached to the display screen for the user to roll and store the cuff. While the compactness and portability were right, it was tedious to roll the cuff and the form did not match the female demographic. Further development was required.  

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Mood Board

A mood board was created to help guide the design decisions in terms of colour, form, and material. The goal was to create a soft feminine aesthetic that also felt sophisticated and modern. 

Concept Iteration

A removable screen feature was developed and two fastening systems were tested: a twist-off screen and a pull-off cap screen. Four cuff orientations were also tested for ergonomics, and the addition of a firm cuff support was investigated.  

After the functional elements were established, the form and other aesthetic features were refined, such as button and light placement, mounting systems, and air intake holes. 

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Final Design

The final design takes on a sculptural and feminine form while also being compact and portable. The screen, pump, cuff, and charger combine as a single unit, making the monitor easy to store and transport. The detachable screen is touch-sensitive and shows blood pressure readings, heart rate, memory, and preeclampsia symptom logging. The user has the option to connect to a mobile app for more in depth tracking and data sharing with healthcare providers. 

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Design Features

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Charge and pairing indicator lights

Pre-formed expandable cuff support

Self-stowing USB charging cable

Use Cycle

Model Making

The looks-like model was created in two parts, the cuff and the pump/screen unit.

 

The cuff was sewn from a pattern based on the 3D Rhino model with a cotton exterior and felt lining. A repurposed PET protein powder container was cut to size and sewn into the cuff as the support. The cuff was finished with a decorative top stitch.

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The pump housing and screen were lathed from polyurethane foam and further hand-sanded to match the 3D model. The front button was 3D printed for added definition, and then glued to the foam. The piece was then primed with gesso, painted with acrylic, and then finished with metallic rose paint for added lustre. 

The model was finished by gluing the pump hosing to the cuff, adding velcro, and inserting round-head pins into the screen to act as grips. 

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Final Model

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Technical Drawings

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