LUNAR Europe designs medical tablet PC for Fujitsu Siemens Computers
28. November 2008
Munich design agency LUNAR Europe has designed a mobile computer for the health sector. The ESPRIMO MA is based on the proven tablet PC technology of Fujitsu Siemens Computers and will lighten the everyday workload of doctors, nurses and paramedics. The mobile terminal – with integrated camera, RFID scanner, barcode reader, WLAN, UMTS and much more besides – means all digitally archived data is available to medical staff in paperless form at all times, directly at the point of care. The ESPRIMO MA made its public début at the Medica trade fair in Düsseldorf (19 – 22.11.2008).
With the ESPRIMO MA, Fujitsu Siemens Computers is launching a terminal which, at a weight of just 1.3 kg and equipped with WLAN and UMTS technology, permits mobile usage of the clinical IT infrastructure. Accordingly, explains Toni Koberling, senior consultant and responsible for industrial design at Fujitsu Siemens Computers, the requirements the design had to satisfy were extremely demanding: “Our most important sales argument has always been functionality. This argument was to be reflected in the design.”
Besides having to cope with tough clinic usage and satisfy the applicable hygiene and safety requirements, the versatile ESPRIMO MA presented the designers at LUNAR Europe with several other tasks when it came to creating the blueprint for the medical technical product: the shape and form have to suit the ergonomic requirements of a wide range of users.
These users – doctors, nurses and paramedics – were therefore analysed and interviewed at length before work on the design got underway. The results of these talks were used to define the features and functions of the ESPRIMO MA. The goal of creating a device that would substantially improve the workflow in day-to-day healthcare determined the choice of integrated components. Although the basic application consists of the retrieval and input of data on-screen via buttons and touch-entry, other useful components were also to be incorporated into the device. With the integrated camera, for instance, medical staff can document visible changes in wounds at the point of care, whilst the RFID scanner and barcode reader permit better monitoring of medication or provide logistical support for the daily running of the clinic or doctor’s practice.
Because some of the usage options require the user to change the way he holds the appliance, LUNAR Europe realised that the form chosen for the handle was one of the most important decisions to be made. To this end, the early design concepts were initially executed as prototypes and tested on the basis of ergonomic considerations. LUNAR Europe used the learnings thus gained to derive not only the ideal form for the casing but the position of the handle, display and buttons as well.
“The shape of the device,” explains Roman Gebhard, creative director and partner at LUNAR Europe, “can be ergonomically adapted to suit various usage situations and individual users. The numerous different functions were to be structured via the arrangement of the buttons and their graphic design, thus facilitating operation. After all, medical staff are meant to get accustomed to using the appliance intuitively and not be overwhelmed by technology and IT. We at LUNAR Europe want the design to help reduce the complexity of the device, making it easier to handle by adapting it to ergonomic requirements.”
Clear design – clean usage
Membrane buttons with visual and tactile hierarchisation make the device easier to operate. The recessed on/off button, for instance, is located in the middle of the appliance. Two raised pushbuttons on the curve of the handle permit rapid release of the RFID scanner and barcode reader – their striking yellow-green colour means any user can immediately identify them as special functions. The overall impression is thus orderly, clearly laid out and self-explanatory. In addition, the fact that the device has no open ports or other problematic indentations means it is extremely easy to clean. A surrounding TPE strip connects the lower and upper shells, seals the ESPRIMO MA and improves impact protection. The deliberate visual accentuation of this seal documents the robustness of the device.
New medical technical design language
The ESPRIMO MA is the first medical technical device of the ESPRIMO series in the Fujitsu Siemens Computers product categories. It thus seemed meaningful to come up with a medical interpretation of the ESPRIMO series’ design language specially for the ESPRIMO MA. Toni Koberling is more than satisfied with the result: “All in all LUNAR Europe, in close collaboration with the design management, marketing and engineering teams at Fujitsu Siemens Computers, has succeeded in creating a strikingly shaped initial device for mobile healthcare professionals. Its entire appearance symbolises medical professionalism and high functionality.”
LUNAR Europe´s work has now been honoured with the iF Product Design Award 2009 and the red dot award 2009: product design.