The hospital can be a scary place for children, especially for children that have to visit the hospital regularly. Almost 65% of the children between 2 and 13 years old is afraid of needles. Caregivers spend a lot of attention and time to comfort the children before executing the medical procedure.
In order to make medical procedures like blood samples or infusion therapy less stressful, Pontes Medical and UMCU (University Medical Center Utrecht) developed Noes. Noes always looks happy, breathes and its eyes are glowing. This helps to distract children from the procedures and help them to relax.
“I am glad we found Anneke for our Noes project, otherwise we would not been able to make so many steps towards a prototype that is safe to use in a medical environment.”Karianne Lindenhovius – Pontes Medical
Prior to this project, a prototype was already created as a graduation project by a student (2014). Noes was developed in co-creation with children from different age ranges, and used an older type of respiratory equipment to simulate breathing movements. Exploratory research at the WKZ (Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital Utrecht) showed that children can hug Noes and can be distracted by the (adjustable) breathing frequency of Noes. This prototype was great as a proof-of-concept, however it was not safe to use in a medical environment due to the used materials, seams and openings that could potentially house bacterias and or viruses.
The breathing robotics were further developed by the internal technical supporting service of the UMCU, in order to make it stand-alone and mobile.
Within this project Noes has been developed further to meet the strict hospital hygiene and disinfection demands while remaining attractive for children. The main challenge was finding the right material and production methods. In 2016, Noes is further evaluated with the WKZ.
Today (2019), we see that the proposition and idea behind Noes has proven to be of great value. Many other comparable solutions are available, both medical and non-medical related.
Healthcare, wellbeing, Product Design, Softgoods, Integrated electronics
Pontes Medical + UMCU