Touch Screen Medical Device


This ongoing project consists of developing a touch screen interface to control existing circuitry and hardware used in a therapeutic medical device. I began this project by researching existing devices in the field, and noting their pros, cons, similarities, and differences. The key observations are listed by figure below:

Figure A.

The starting point was our legacy device as it allows many of the same treatment settings that will be available on the device currently in development. Treatment setup is aided by step-by-step settings, allowing to change only one parameter at a time until all parameters have been set. All settings are visible on screen during treatment. Touch screen interface can be controlled via screen or push-dial.

Figure B.

Colors and iconography designate categorization of elements. However one treatment option shares the same color as the Utilities button, and their proximity could be close enough for someone to assume they are related categorically. Channel selection buttons are the smallest on the screen, as well as being the smallest of any button on any of the other devices reviewed. Several shortcuts to saved protocols are available from main menu. 

Figure C.

Main menu is reminiscent of a mobile website menu. Current placement in treatment setup is denoted by dotted pathway at top of screen. Knob becomes backlit backlit when available to be used as input device. Once treatment type is selected, all options for that treatment setup is available on screen. Visual indicators (highlighted button borders) walk the user through setting up each parameter. During treatment, the status of each channel is visible but not editable.

Figure D.

This unit is a newcomer to the industry, and takes no issue with copying many of the layout and design choices seen in Figure C. However one clear advantage is removing a step from treatment setup, by having ultrasound, stim, and combination selections available right on the home menu, instead of first needing to select manual operation. Each of these options are also available through hard-button shortcuts below the screen.

Figure A

Figure B

Figure C

Figure D


After a few short days of exploring the interface of each device, I began to put together wireframe prototypes to establish an initial direction for interface layout, which would then be reviewed internally as part of an open dialog concerning capabilities, features, and how they could be accessed through the user interface. The notes from that dialog are represented here as the concepts to be taken further into the next design iteration.

Concept A

  • The ability to start and stop each treatment channel independently

  • A single and dominant area displaying key treatment settings / feedback
  • Usage of iconography to designate/reinforce treatment selection

Concept B

  • All channel settings being visible from a single screen

  • Usage of iconography to designate/reinforce treatment selection
  • Grid-based layout
  • Allowing space for feedback from add-on components

Concept C

  • Home screen access to saved protocols
  • Multiple ways to display treatment parameters
  • Clear indication of what options are mandatory versus variable

Concept A

Concept B

Concept C


Concept D

I populated several screens under this layout to demonstrate its capabilities compared to the notes taken from the initial round of concepts.

  • The first point to notice is that layout of each stim channel has been segmented into vertical channels instead of horizontal channels. This accomplishes 2 things. First, it allows a top-to-bottom treatment setup, making it easy to select each parameter as needed in the proper order. Second, each channel grouping on the screen corresponds visually to the physical channel outputs on the front of the device.
  • At the top of the screen, the branding elements are designed to be removed for the on-screen control and feedback of add-on components.
    • In D2 you can see the addition of Ultrasound, made available after plugging in an ultrasound applicator into the device.
    • In D3 the option of laser has also been added, with the ability to provide feedback of output dosage and treatment time only. Control of the laser probe(s) is administered on the probe itself.
  • Configurable inside of user settings, the user would be able to alter the default "home" options under each channel — choosing from waveform types (D1 - channel 1), clinical protocols, or saved treatment settings (D1 - channel 3).
  • A line for text feedback was added to remind clinicians to notify patients of changing sensations during treatment, setup reminders, etc.
  • At the bottom of the screen, an ALL STOP button was added to shut down all forms of treatment on the device at once, in case of an emergency or severe adverse reaction.
  • A "time-out" feature for the display was designed, dimming the display after a period of no contact to the screen to then only show the most fundamental settings of the treatments currently underway, so that clinicians in a busy clinic can see the status of a patient's treatment at a glance.

Concept D 1

Concept D2

Concept D3

Concept D4