industrial design

Shift Labs


Portable Precision
industrial design

DripAssist is a portable IV flow monitor that makes infusion easier, quicker, and more reliable. The battery-operated alarm-enabled device is a fraction of the cost of an electronic infusion pump. DripAssist provides accurate monitoring of critical gravity infusions and also sounds automatically when the flow rate falls outside a safe limit or stops. The Shift Labs team developed an engineering prototype in need of housing and UI design suited for emerging markets. Tactile was tasked with creating a durable, lightweight, approachable unit while keeping production costs down.

The DripAssist had to be instantly usable by all skill levels in a wide variety of environments. Those in rugged clinical settings, with suboptimal lighting conditions, and across multiple languages need the units to be easy to use and more accurate than manual count IV fluid drips. Finally, the DripAssist had to fit standard drip chambers while accommodating slight variations across IV brands and types. It is currently used in veterinary applications, with potential use for human health in emerging markets after approval. Winner of a 2015 IDEA Silver Award.

Design for

Our experience designing devices for emerging health markets and American med-tech products was bolstered through Shift Labs’ user testing and research. Key design solutions focused on usability, understanding varied environments, and potential barriers to adoption.

We decided that the DripAssist’s technology and use environments required a simpler architecture than initially proposed. We knew we would have to collaborate very closely with Shift Labs to understand where we could push engineering constraints and challenge user behaviors. Designing low-cost, high-efficiency products requires delicate balance and sensitivity to what will get the product made and used.