The client, Northwestern University Professor Deborah Wood, has carpometacarpal osteoarthritis in her right hand which causes a sharp pain at the base of the thumb. As a result of this condition, she has trouble with typing and using the mouse. 

SolutionBioshock Brace

The Bioshock Brace targets pain directly, integrating bioelectric therapy treatment into a neoprene wrap brace.

The bioelectric therapy, delivered by the transcutaneous electric nerve stimulator (TENS) machine, erases the pain by sending an electric current into the caropormetacarpal joint, thus interrupting the pain signals. The wrap brace acts as an anchor for the electrodes of the TENS machine as well a simple wrist support. 

The client was very impressed with how effective the bioelectric therapy was in erasing her pain during user testing. In terms of the delivery method, the client showed a preference for the wrap brace as it was discreet and comfortable while also making her feel secure.

Development Process

1. The team met with the client to determine the requirements for the design.

2. Background research on CMC osteoarthritis and existing solutions was conducted.

3. Several mock up designs for treatment option and delivery method were selected for consideration.

4. Through user testing, and consultation with the client's rheumatologist and several other professionals in the field, bioelectric therapy was chosen as the treatment option.

5. A final prototype was created, consisting of a TENS unit and a neoprene wrap brace. The brace was adjusted so that the wires of the electrodes could be slipped through, keeping the design sleek and unobtrusive.

6. The prototype was presented to the client.