Jonathan LineIndustrial Design and Technology BA
An assistive device for infant tracheostomy patients
Babbel is a wearable device developed alongside Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. The project aims to aid audible communication in child tracheostomy patients. 'Give the babies back their cry.' A Tracheotomy is a surgical procedure that involves creating an incision in the airway to create an opening. A tube is then inserted with the aim of restoring airflow to the lungs. The need for long-term ventilation in infants is rare. Each year, 100 procedures take place within Evelina Children's Hospital, a part of St Thomas'. The project began by researching the problems faced by parents and clinicians on a day-to-day basis. Working within the hospital gave crucial insight into clinical and personal environments. Furthermore, an in-depth analysis of wearable devices as well as related medical products influenced the nuances of the design. Due to the sensitive nature of this project, it has been important to emphasise the involvement of the parents and clinicians who have contributed knowledge and personal experience to the many phases of research and development. The solution employs existing technology found in sports wearables; repurposing therefore helps to aid analysis of a chronic condition. There are extensive variants in a patient's condition with many other factors that can cause complications - personalising helps to tailor each device to the patient. The use of an app aids the clinical team in assessing the best course of treatment for the infant by analysing the data. Babbel is a product that seeks to reduce distress. The sensor has been carefully designed to reduce the overall size, enabling the device to be as discrete as possible.