Banana-Shaped Medical Barcode Scanner
Project Dates: 2011
Personal Project, Pratt Institute Graduate School of Industrial Design
My Roles: Research, Product Design, Physical Prototyping
Based upon research supporting the therapeutic benefits of humor in clinical settings, the Scanana — a banana-shaped, wireless barcode scanner — is intended to alter the nature of clinician-patient interactions in pediatric environments.
Barcode scanners are already used for numerous purposes within hospital settings, from keeping track of patients and their individual records, to tracking lab tests, prescribing medication and preventing personnel error. While great leaps in scanner technology and capabilities have been made, little has changed about the scanners' physical form — aside from ergonomic improvements and the use of more durable and anti-microbial materials. At best, scanners remain utilitarian but ergonomically-friendly; at worst, they can be intimidating for both the patient and the practitioner. In pediatric hospital wards, where small patients are already overwhelmed by illness, fear of the medical procedures, and the loss of familiar surroundings, this failure of form is particularly problematic.
- With every patient interaction an opportunity to improve comfort-level and promote patient health, making friendlier looking technology is, in my opinion, a vitally important step.
- As medical practitioners walk around with "bananas" in their pockets, they interact not only with the patients' records and lab tests, but also with the patients themselves in a whole new way. With Scanana, my hope is that these interactions are more likely to be fun and funny, not simply utilitarian, thus positively altering the nature of both everyday conversations — and of the hospital environment itself.
- I completed this project as part of a Masters-level course in Industrial Design.