Although smartwatches and wearables are becoming more adept at tracking our health, there are still some biometrics that can’t simply be measured by these tiny sensors. Or at least not with the ones we commercially have. Of the serious diseases we need to keep on top of, it’s diabetes that is often the most difficult, but not for a lack of tools. Checking blood sugar levels is one of the most uncomfortable and painful monitoring one can experience because of the need to draw even just a drop of blood from a finger. That’s why there’s a race to develop reliable and accurate non-invasive glucose monitors, but this design concept focuses on a different angle to nudge people to keep tabs on their health more regularly and avoid worst-case scenarios.
Designers: Harry Moorman, Adam Haynes, Viviane Mosso, Callum Beal, Mary Chan (Cambridge Consultants)
Having a blood sugar monitor that doesn’t require a single drop of blood is an important part of the solution, though it isn’t the only one. After all, we already have tons of smartwatches that can read heart rates and heart rhythms, but not everyone actually makes the effort to watch those figures until it’s too late. The other side of the problem is more psychological and emotional, with people tending to shy away from using these medical devices precisely because they are medical devices.
Zedsen is a concept design that tries to present both a unified branding language and an overall user experience with a design that’s focused more on the human side of the product. The actual device, for example, is made to look so unlike any other home medical equipment, breaking down psychological barriers to using a health-related tool. The top or front of the device looks very minimal and unassuming, while the bottom has a ripple-like surface that is reminiscent of ripples on a pool or a Zen garden. In other words, the design is meant to evoke feelings of calmness, something you’d probably never associate with a glucose monitor.
There’s also a sense of mystery and discovery when you slide the device open to show the actual functional part of the monitor. Even then, the tech is kept to a minimum and acts more like a treasure that’s revealed every time you measure your blood sugar level. The visual theme, especially the ripples and fingerprint marker, are also present in the mobile app user interface to form a stronger mental connection between hardware and software.
The design of Zedsen is admittedly not a ground-breaking one, especially as it is aiming for a more minimalist and understated motif, but it’s a design that appeals to the human side of the equation, something that few medical equipment do. With the non-invasive glucose monitoring technology already in existence, what’s needed to successfully get people to actually use it is more than just nagging reminders but something that won’t intimidate people just by looking at the device.