International product design company, IDC (Industrial Design Consultancy), has just developed an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) training device to support the training of first aid workers. Working for long-standing medical client, XFT, the team also developed XFT's previous AED trainer which went on to become XFT's most successful product to date.
The training device works by offering a variety of pre-programmed scenarios to train first responders how to use a defibrillator in an emergency. It can also work with CPR training equipment to give feedback on pushing force and the frequency of chest compressions.
XFT wanted the new device to replicate a 'real' AED in its appearance to make the training experience as realistic as possible. The team was briefed to develop the AED trainer as an all-in-one package, with rechargeable battery, carrying handle, a display, and storage space for electrode pads, instruction manual and remote controller. The team worked on the project from concept right through to manufacture.
The first stage of the project involved research into leading defibrillator products and their features; looking at function, configuration, aesthetic appearance, and how users found the products in terms of electrode pad storage and connection. The team then used this information to develop concepts for the new training device. The concept that XFT chose was X-shaped, inspired by XFT's X-shaped logo, and styled to give a robust and durable feel.
Some of the biggest challenges of the project were usability related, to avoid misuse and ensure the device was easy to use. These included operational features such as the button layout and electrode storage to encourage correct connection, as well as storing and using the remote controller. Rapid prototypes were produced throughout the development to test handle ergonomics, storage options and the lid mechanism.
IDC's team worked closely with XFT's engineers to find the best solutions for component layout, mechanisms and moulding to speed up the development process. The team was also challenged to keep the product as compact as possible to reduce moulding costs.
Stephen Knowles, IDC’s Managing Director commented, “We are excited to have developed another innovative medical product for XFT. This is an invaluable product which will enable emergency responders to learn life-saving skills from a highly realistic training device. We look forward to seeing its success.”