Healthcare | Smart Aid Kit Aims to Remove Healthcare Barriers
This series of objects by London studio Map Project Office and Amsterdam-based Modem illustrates the ways in which design and technology can be used to democratise and autonomise healthcare systems for communities spanning the globe.
Named “Smart Aid Kit”, the speculative project has seen Map and Modem develop four tools that would enable users to perform tests and screenings on their own bodies or others. These include a stethoscope, spirometer, ophthalmoscope, and a skin analyser. The teams describe the kit as a “virtual practitioner”, with each of the devices having been based on tools currently used by doctors.
The case containing the full set also houses a primary care trained “large language model” (LLM), which offers basic advice to users post-use of the devices. This system is powered by AI, and acts as a virtual GP that engages in simple conversation and dictates step-by-step instructions for the devices. Crucially, the language is simple and friendly in order to break down any barriers to healthcare access.
“Together we wanted to showcase a series of simple objects that could perform well and are instinctive to use,” said Emilie Robinson, who is one of three Creative Directors at Map, alongside Will Verity and Jake Weir. “As with our other work, we wanted to ensure that although Smart Aid Kit is experimental, crafting the tools physically was important to understand how the designs would look and feel when used.”
While these tools aren’t yet useable, they are considered thought-starters for how the healthcare system might respond to the impact of AI, and how design can be used to harness its power. The teams see their work as a continuation of the apps and testing platforms that assess anything from our glucose levels to our sleep patterns.
“The resulting designs feel elevated, clean and trusted”
From a design perspective, the teams opted for an approachable aesthetic. A simple color pallette is reflective of shades used in healthcare equipment in a bid to make the tools feel familiar rather than hi-tech and alien, with each individual too distinguished by a color band. Solar is used to power the entire system. According to Robinson, the visual success of the final products can be owed to the process of making physical models.
“Model-making and material exploration remains an increasingly essential part of our work and world, particularly when many design approaches now opt for digital-first problem solving,” she says. “The resulting designs feel elevated, clean and trusted, all important for tools that might be used when assessing your healthcare.”
Take a closer look at the devices in the gallery above, and for more design – check out our highlights from Seoul Design.
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