Smart Touch is a blood glucose monitor designed as a casing for the smartphone and uses the smartphone’s camera to scan and analyze a glucose blood test. The social enterprise behind Smart Touch is Care Trade, an economically sustainable system which encourages better healthcare management by transforming the act of self-care into aid for another human being in need.
Smart Touch & Care Trade
Team: Kevin Bickham, Ruby Steel, Luc Fusaro, River Cheng
Institution: Royal College of Art
Problem: In the developed world, most type 1 diabetics tend to experience a dip in their diabetes management when they enter university. Transitioning from an environment where young diabetics are supported by family members to one where they need to self-manage, young diabetics tend to overlook their management, in order to meet certain social standards within the context of university life.
In the developing world where diabetes is on the rise, the main problem is the disrupted access to resources to manage their diabetes. Our team aspired to find a solution that met the needs of these two different groups.
Audience: Generally, we identified young, type 1 diabetics (age 17 – 25) as our primary audience for this project. Our secondary audience were those with type 2 diabetes in developing regions, like sub-saharan Africa and southeast Asia.
Stakeholders: For the project, our main stakeholder was our expert user, Tom. He provided the litmus test, as to whether we were meeting his needs through our prototypes. The other project stakeholder were our instructors at Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, as we had to meet certain criteria for our final assessment.
Process: Once our team decided to focus on diabetes healthcare as a project, we mapped out the user journey for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. We looked at different touchpoints in their journeys to see where design could make impact. We spoke to many young diabetics and heard a common theme of mismanagement of their conditions during their university years. We began researching and experimenting with simple and quick ways to perform discrete glucose level testings. Once we found a suitable solution, half of the team focused on the product development, while the other half focused on creating a system to address the needs of diabetics in developing countries. The final outcome is described in full detail in the concept video below.
The project was well-received and awarded for its product innovation and aim for social good. But, product development for products that interface with blood is highly risky and not likely to pass FDA regulations. We were content to leave the project at the concept level and move on to other endeavors.