The capsule storage is meant for transportation and storage in the fridge.
The allergy shots get compressed similar to coffee capsules.
The injector administers the allergy shot capsule automatically.
I changed from different amounts of liquid in syringes to different concentration in capsules.
From the first models to the final prototype...
What it does
Ajuda is a system concept which significantly improves the experience of patients undergoing allergen immunotherapy with allergy shots. Additionally, it allows self-medication at home after being in treatment for some time.
People who suffer from severe allergies often face additional difficulties in life. Most of us don't have to worry about the food we get served at a restaurant or the amount of dust within the rooms we enter. Allergen immunotherapy is the only known treatment that can offer a long-term relieve for people with allergies, but it can be complicated and time-consuming. I decided to focus on improving the treatment process with allergy shots significantly and making self-medication possible. The resulting product-line “ajuda” contains everything needed to perform immunotherapy safely at home and to be supported throughout the treatment.
How it works
Ajuda is composed of a system for storage, disposal and transport of the newly defined allergy shots, an injector for self-medication and two trackers, which measure the vital values during therapy and optionally in everyday life. The allergy shots are capsules with contain the exact amount of the allergens you need this week for your treatment. They get premixed for you and are numbered and colour-coded to avoid any mix-ups. Similar to coffee capsules they get compressed by the injector to administer the liquid into your upper arm. The injector is a simple looking device for an accurate injections. It contains an intake mechanism for the allergy shots so the patient doesn't have to touch the capsules directly and contaminate them. The injector communicates using light indications and guides you step by step through the process.
I started developing the ajuda system right after simulating a traditional allergy shot administration. I pretended to use a syringe on my arm and realised how uncomfortable and inaccurate the process was. It was nearly impossible to achieve the right spot in the right depth with the needle in an 90 degree angle, while also maintaining a slow and steady injection pace. 15 minutes later, I was already sketching ideas to improve the performance and experience significantly. I started with countless ruff models, testing and rating the different shapes. I researched the requirements of the treatment and consulted two medical experts about my ideas. Injecting yourself with a syringe is a scary experience for almost everyone and after conducting an online survey I realised that I had to make the device more approachable. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to speak with a patient who was in treatment at the moment. I learned a lot about his emotional and time-consuming burdens, how his allergies affect his travel and work plans and that sometimes immunotherapy can be very painful. For now, I have 3D printed my devices and compared the administration of my ajuda system with the traditional one with some of my colleges. We noticed a significant improvement in the process!
How it is different
The allergy administration follows strict rules to be save and effective and therefore does not leave much freedom in design. I challenged myself to create an option that offers more flexibility while being just as safe as the traditional methods. Allergy shots are mixed for each patient individually and have very small doses of liquids. The smallest contains 0.5 ml of liquid, the largest 5 ml per shot. If you make a mistake while filling the syringe you inject too little or too much of the allergy shot, which can have serious consequences. To make self-treatment at home possible, I switched from syringes to capsules which differ in concentration instead of amount. They get premixed and labeled for the patient and are refilled every few weeks at the doctor. Additionally, I designed an injection device for home-use, making the administration more accurate and less scary for the patient, as well as a tracker to check-up on the vital signs.
All in all, I designed a system which shows a new possibility of the treatment process. But the products included are still flawed and would require more user feedback for refinement. My next step would be to include more people in the process, be it manufacturer, doctor or patient.