Neonatal CPAP Device

Mechanical Engineering at Equalize Health (formerly D-Rev)
April 2020 - March 2021

The nCPAP (neonatal continuous positive air pressure) will treat premature babies with otherwise fatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome - a disease that affects millions of babies in low and middle income countries every year.

 

The device supports patients' pulmonary functions by delivering them pressurized, heated and humidified air, blended with oxygen. It is designed to provide world-class treatment while addressing cost, training and other resource-related

barriers that are typical of this device category.

 

Project details cannot be shared for confidentiality reasons.

Responsibilites

Part design

Testing

Interface design

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Project Overview

 

I worked with a great industrial designer and a team of electrical, firmware and mechanical engineers on the nCPAP at Equalize Health (formerly D-Rev). During my time as a Mechanical Engineering Fellow and then Mechanical Engineer, we developed the device from an assembly of electromechanical components to a complete urethane cast device.

I designed parts, performed testing, and co-created
the user interface for the nCPAP.

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Part design: Building a screen subassembly to withstand harsh environments.

To ensure the device served its full life, the touchscreen needed to endure heavy use, chemical sanitation, and be serviceable. I designed the subassembly for simple assembly and low part count, while respecting the device's industrial design. We validated designs with prototypes of increasing fidelity - working from printed subassemblies to a urethane cast enclosure with a sheet metal part.

Part Design Challenges

Designing within a tight envelope - Integrating assembly features and respecting molding limitations while also adhering to industrial design and device envelope requirements.

Managing tolerance stack-ups - Using tolerance analysis to ensure gasket compression and ingress protection, as well as reliable touchscreen functionality.

Tools

Sketching and prototyping

Tolerance analysis

Engineering drawings

Sheet metal part design

Design for injection molding

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Testing Challenges

Effective and efficient prototyping - Configuring device subassemblies and testing equipment to answer the question at hand in the simplest way possible.

Root cause analysis - Analyzing data trends and examining hardware to understand where and why problems were occuring.

 

Testing: Evaluating system performance against product requirements and medical device standards.

From small subsystem tests to full-scale environmental testing, I sought to verify that our device met performance criteria - and when it didn't, identify the system's limitations. Testing results drove design changes and ultimately reduced development risk as we tied the system's sensors, effectors and firmware together.

Tools

Test definition
Test setup design (equipment and fixtures)
Data analysis

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Interface Design Challenges

Graphic-oriented design - Employing graphical conventions rather than text, to communicate both the problem and solution regarding adverse user events.

Reconciling interface subsystems - Configuring interface hardware with the electrical engineering team to create a seamless user experience.

 

Interface design: Creating an interface to transcend language and training barriers.

Through journey mapping the experiences of medical personnel my team interviewed, we identified the core unmet needs of existing interfaces: simple setup instructions, clear diagnostics for troubleshooting, and evident alarms for a distracting environment. 

I strove to design for quick adoption and error-free usage for the user. To this end, I guided the interface's design using principles including information hierarchy and glanceability, error forgiveness, and the usage of visual conventions.

Tools

Journey mapping
Sketching and wireframing

Works-like hardware prototyping
User testing

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