Design Solutions for Preterm Infants Undergoing CPAP Treatment

2013 Conceptual Product Solutions

10-week term project with a Med-Tech company and Umeå University Hospital


The starting point was the design challenge of understanding the needs, wishes and restrictions when designing critical care solutions for preterm infants undergoing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment. CPAP is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open and can be used to treat preterm infants whose lungs have not fully developed. The projects primary patient group was premature babies corresponding to a patient weight span from 300g - 5000g. The secondary user group was the nurses and caregivers who interact with both the patient and the CPAP solution. The project's initially focus was the design of the patient-near parts including the fixation on the patient head and face, but as the students analysed their research findings, they found a number of other relevant design opportunities that they choose to focus on and include as well in the design study.

Work Method
The project started with an introduction from the sponsoring company to a number of the present solutions for CPAP head and face interfaces on the market today. In the weeks that followed the students had the possibility to visit the local University hospital on several occasions and got valuable insights to present procedures and the problems, needs and wishes known to the professional caregivers and medical experts. The project also included a number of co-creation sessions at UID with both the sponsoring company and representatives from the hospital. The final result was four projects made in small teams by two students per project. All four projects conceptualized new potential solutions for infant CPAP treatment, but focused on different phases in the timeline from an premature born child is delivered and until it is strong enough to leave an critical care ward.

External project tutor:
Magnus Lindfors, industrial designer, Stockholm 

Other lecturers:
Daniel Sellberg (Cintiq sketching), industrial designer Atlas Copco, Örebro
Thomas Degn, senior lecturer in industrial design

Course responsible:
Thomas Degn, Programme Director for the APD programme