10-week term project with the Umeå University Hospital and Umeå
When conceptualizing and designing new types of non-infective
urinary catheters, the first thing was to understand the problems,
needs and wishes, seen from both the perspective of the users and
the healthcare professionals.
The following quote from Calvin M. Kunin framed the design
challenge: "(…) to produce an instrument that matches as
closely as possible the normal physiologic and mechanical
characteristics of the voiding system. It seems to me that this
will require the construction of a thin-walled, continuously
lubricated, collapsible catheter to restore the integrity the
urethra; a system to hold the catheter in place without a balloon;
and measures to imitate the intermittent washing out of the bladder
urine. Some of these approaches have already been developed but are
confounded by patent disputes, development costs, and marketing
considerations. Catheter manufacturers have been reluctant to make
the necessary investment in research and development. (...) The
catheters currently available are inexpensive instruments, but the
eventual price to be paid is great indeed. Catheters of the future
may be more expensive, but should be well worth the
A special focus was on solutions for long-time usage or indwelling
catheters (indwelling means inside the body). The main user group
for these types of catheters are users suffering from urinary
retention (not being able to urinate), most often elderly men or
other types of users who for various reasons need an indwelling
catheter for a shorter or longer duration.
The project started with an introduction to the topic at the
Department of Urology at the Umeå University hospital. The students
where then able to test the insertion of catheters on practice
models used to educated nurses, as well as seeing the procedure
being done by professional healthcare workers on real patients,
both at the hospital and at the patients own homes. Throughout the
study the students ideated, build mock-ups and tested ideas on a
group of both researchers and healthcare professionals.
The study resulted in a number of concepts of which some at this
point are still being considered or prepared for patenting.
External collaborating partners and tutors:
Madeleine Ramstedt, Researcher at the department of
Katarina Gunséus, Urology therapist (Uroterapeut), Umeå University
Dr. Bengt Friedrich, Chief Physican in Urology, Umeå University
Dr. Anders Johansson, Senior physician in Clinical Microbiology,
Umeå University Hospital.
External project tutor:
Anna Carell, Industrial Designer, Veryday.
Course responsible and internal tutor:
Thomas Degn, Programme Director for the APD programme.