Focusing on usability, IDC’s team developed concepts around an iPad – with its benefits of mobility, simple user interface, technology for apps, and being small and compact. XFT’s previous models had been trolley-based with a computer used to control the muscle stimulation device. By moving to a solution based on an iPad, IDC saw an opportunity to integrate the FES controls into an app, with the option of detaching the iPad to enable remote monitoring and control by medical staff. The detachable iPad also provided the perfect platform for interactive games and entertainment for patients during rehabilitation.
In designing a solution around the iPad, IDC’s industrial designers were challenged to develop a hard casing that was robust enough to endure a tough, multi-user medical environment, while being secure when mounted, and easy to detach. The iPad took a prominent position on top of the new sEMG unit, as the main user interface to the device.
IDC’s design team devised a unique hinge in the casing which allowed the user to adjust the iPad angle single-handedly for the best position during use, when mounted in the unit. This was a major design challenge, since the weight of the iPad meant that it was top-heavy, so required a mechanical solution to overcome the imbalance. A hidden magnetic clasp ensured that the iPad was securely fastened and delivered aesthetic value, with a high quality feel. The team also integrated a charging point into the casing, so when the iPad was mounted in the unit it would automatically recharge.