By Kurt Soller
“Medical device designers need to be in touch with their customers,” says Dr. Jay Goldberg, who works as a professor at Marquette University. “You can’t design a product sitting in your office — you need to go talk with people who will use it.”
The good news is, that’s starting to happen. More and more often, medical device manufacturers are hiring in-house designers or outside firms whose design teams are conducting critical user research. That involves gathering input from the medical staff who use the tools, the patients whose lives depend on them, and even the families who spend hours in the hospital environment.
Such design research and collaboration has paid off in the following collection of amazing new medical devices. These products help solve problems from life-threatening wounds inflicted in Iraq to the prohibitive cost of hearing aids in developing nations. From the simple and inexpensive to the complex and costly, the following 10 devices represent the range of today’s medical tools — and the importance of innovation.