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Preteen gives design pointers to insulin pump maker

During a conversation I had with design guru Dan Formosa in preparation for an article on wearable medical devices, he mentioned that the coolness factor has a role to play in medical device design. "Sometimes, you want to show off technology, not hide it, and that can apply to wearable devices, as well." That may be one area where the medical device industry is at a distinct disadvantage, added Formosa.

During a conversation I had with design guru Dan Formosa in preparation for an article on wearable medical devices, he mentioned that the coolness factor has a role to play in medical device design. "Sometimes, you want to show off technology, not hide it, and that can apply to wearable devices, as well." That may be one area where the medical device industry is at a distinct disadvantage, added Formosa. "My suspicion is that wearable devices produced by medical device companies won't be as cool as they could be." Enter an 11 year old by the name of Katrina Diel.

Insulet CEO Duane DeSisto
Katrina Diel and Insulet CEO Duane DeSisto.
Diel has type 1 diabetes and she uses the OmniPod insulin pump developed by Massachusetts company Insulet to manage her condition. The device works just fine, but she did not much care for the design.

"It didn't look that nice to me," the 10 year old from Barrington, R.I., told the Boston Business Journal. "You could see the electrical and computer parts. And it looked like a bandage," she said. The device is typically worn on the upper arm.

To give the OmniPod a fashion-forward makeover, Diel designed colored plastic covers, called Kedz Covers, that fit onto the device. They are molded by a Massachusetts-based injection molding company and sold through a company she founded with a little help from her father. A portion of the profits go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a local camp for children with diabetes.

When Insulet found out about Katrina's business, the company invited her to drop by its Bedford office to formally recognize her inventiveness and to invite her to be an OmniPod Ambassador at the Children With Diabetes conference in Florida this summer.

"[Katrina] and her family will be in our booth interacting with other children and families that come in," Insulet said in a statement. "It gives families the opportunity to learn more about the OmniPod first-hand from the experiences of a family that already uses it." And to talk with a kid who made it look cool, to boot.

Norbert Sparrow

Norbert Sparrow is Senior Editor at PlasticsToday. Follow him on twitter @norbertcsparrow and Google+.

TAGS: Medical
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