After serious changes in the electronic part, a customer needed a new model of a mammographer to differ from the old one.
The task at hand was:to make it cheap and to change the mammographer's appearance in a short time.
The work included a full cycle of design from research to production of a prototype.
Design research To start off, I studied mammography and competitor design. I also interviewed women, both patients and mammography staff members.
What I found out:
The procedure is very painful and the compression paddle crushes the breast.
The cold surfaces of the compression paddle and table make the procedure uncomfortable.
Most mammographers resemble industrial equipment: they have angular design and look frightening.
The key point is that patients are afraid of mammography. They are anxious about getting bad results and the machinery is scary.
Based on my research, I decided to make a mammographer similar to cosmetic equipment in order to get rid of the negative factors.
Production I selected vacuum-forming technology for the new design. With this technology, the parts are lighter, stronger and, above all, cheaper in production. Also to change the colour and surface type (gloss /shagreen) of the parts, a customer can simply use a plastic sheet.
Matrices for vacuum forming
Working prototype Finally, I produced a trial-mould and assembled a working prototype, which was presented at an exhibition.
Prototype improvement Following the results of the prototype, I changed the swivel C-arm structure. The number of parts was fewer but the number of moulds was slightly greater. In the first case, two parts were created in each mould for the sake of economy, but in this particular case the labour of assembly lessened the cost of effectiveness.
Work results After the beginning of the research, it took six months to present the working prototype at the exhibition.
Project development The ability to change the mammographer’s appearance makes it suitable for both the average room and health clinics.
Attention distraction system In order to lessen pain during the procedure, I developed the attention distraction system. The mammographer has different working modes that visualize RGB — LED strips which are embedded in the silicon seals. At the request of medical staff, a patient follows the luminous colours and takes instructions (breathe — hold breath). Concentration on the flickering lights distracts patients from pain.
Would you do me a favor? I would be most grateful if you could share the information.