When developing a new healthcare product, stringent technical and certification requirements must be met, and design and usability aspects must be taken into account. Involving potential users at an early stage is essential if all their needs are to be aligned holistically. People-driven innovation is a tried and tested methodology that incorporates the user perspective throughout the development process, making them active contributors from concept to product launch.
In this context, UVISA HEALTH, recognized by EIT-Health as one of Europe’s most innovative healthcare start-ups, has asked the Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) to provide a user-centered design service to generate conceptual proposals for an innovative product to treat vaginal infections. This service is seen as a comprehensive collaboration in which the designers’ perspectives, the company's experience and the input of potential end-users are brought together to design a product that not only meets the technical requirements, but also takes into account the preferences and usability demanded by the market. This article explores in detail how this synergy of vision and the commitment to participatory and user-centered design is a defining factor in the development of products from their initial stages.
The high social and economic cost of a progressively ageing global population highlights the need to promote effective models of healthy ageing that help to prevent or delay disease.
In this context, the Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV), through the Strategic Cooperation Projects programme of the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI), has set up a consortium of Valencian stakeholders from the technology and healthcare sectors to carry out the AI3cord project, a cutting-edge R&D&I project for the development and evaluation of an innovative technological solution for the monitoring and prevention of frailty and chronicity in the elderly.
AI3cord has made it possible to create a technological platform that uses IoT devices and AI-based data analysis techniques to remotely and dynamically evaluate new indicators aimed at monitoring and preventing frailty in the elderly, with the least possible intrusion.
This project opens the door to its application in the treatment of other pathologies or chronic ailments that can benefit from remote and non-invasive monitoring technology.
Temperature control optimization has become increasingly important in today's climate scenario. Thermal comfort is a crucial human factor during the performance of tasks, often insofar as user safety and the prevention of errors and accidents are concerned. It is a variable that depends on many physical parameters, including the temperature of the air and the regulation of body temperature, as well as sex, age, clothing and other general and local body characteristics.
In order to detect differences in heat maps due to pathologies, skin conditions or joint injuries, the Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) has created a methodology that analyses the body's thermoregulatory response and measures surface temperatures and their evolution. Using a huge infrared database (>300,000 images), models have been trained to estimate such parameters as the user’s sex, age, thermotype and identification all of which facilitate the prediction of thermal discomfort by means of a thermal image. Using contactless technology and artificial intelligence, applications have been implemented in the field of Health and Well-being to help professionals (clinicians, physicians, etc.) to diagnose certain diseases, such as circulatory and vascular problems, the effect of therapies or cosmetic products, or to prevent such risks as heat stroke.
The implementation of the new European Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) has caused a minor revolution in the sector that has required a major effort on the part of companies to adapt to this new framework. The Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) provides advice on the development, evaluation and certification of medical devices to companies in the HEALTHCARE sector that are committed to the quality and safety of their medical devices as elements of brand identification. One such company is ECOPOSTURAL, a leading company in the field of healthcare furniture, which was granted a manufacturing license by the AEMPS (Spanish Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices) in 2001.