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April 2022

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2022

Collaboration at University of Minnesota Twin Cities between Dr. Amr El-Bokl and Dr. Gurumurthy Hiremath of Department of Pediatrics at the Medical School, and Prof. Carlye Lauff and undergraduate student Levi Skelton of Product Design Program at the College of Design, is leading to create a knowledge product to teach children and their families about congenital heart disease (CHD). CHD is a birth defect in the heart of children. CHD leads to varied abnormalities in the heart as the child grows, making it difficult for children and their families to understand and manage it. Dr. El-Bokl says, 'There is a tendency to try and protect children from information...Slow and early introduction is one of the best ways to become familiar with the medical information, but we don’t have many child-friendly tools.' Design process was initiated with a collaborative effort. Skelton says, 'I started by researching what CHD is, how it can manifest, be managed, and sometimes corrected. Dr. El-Bokl was both my client and mentor. While he was teaching me about CHD, he was also telling me what he wanted out of the product.' Learning and understanding about CHD involved interactions with childrens that have the condition. After research, a companion toy product was decided to be designed. Skelton adds, 'Having children simulate a doctor/patient interaction with themselves and a toy has been proven to help children feel more comfortable as a patient during a visit to the doctor. Once I decided on creating a toy, I researched animals with unique hearts and chose the octopus because it has three of them.' The prototype is termed as 'Octo'. It is designed with a removable 3D-printed heart and has an accompanying digital app for kids to administer checkups and learn about cardiovascular functions.' Read on...

University of Minnesota News: Demystifying congenital heart disease through product design
Author: NA



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