industrial design
mechanical engineering

Intellectual
Ventures
Laboratory

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Innovation with Humanitarian Potential
industrial design
mechanical engineering

Intellectual Ventures Laboratory (IVL) discovers, invents, and develops advanced technology, bridging the gap between early-stage ideas and proof of concept demonstrations. Their Global Good team partnered with Tactile to further develop a more effective means of delivering vaccination services to outlying communities in developing countries. A thermos container system (nicknamed Cold Chain) is capable of storing and maintaining vaccines for transport at proper temperatures for as long as a month.

Underdeveloped regions with poor roads and no electrical grids will benefit greatly from this technology. Our role was to focus on usability issues that would advance design development and increase adoption in the field. Winner of a 2014 Good Design Award and 2013 IDEA Bronze Award.

Numerous Considerations

Working with patented science, engineering prototypes, and a wealth of proposed device and user experience ideas, a versatile team of engineers, designers, and researchers began work on several possible architectures for Cold Chain. During this process, Tactile had to factor in cost, size, weight, durability, access, portability, materials, security, and vaccine viability. Transport and logistics of the vessel and its sensitive contents were major considerations.

The Cold Chain device was designed to endure trials of transport—often by uncertain means—to major healthcare clinics, small town healthcare providers, and remote villages. The vaccines could be replenished, handled, maintained, and administered anywhere along the route. The Tactile team went to Mozambique and Zambia to discover real user needs, define infrastructure obstacles and opportunities, assess design decisions, and qualify engineering assumptions.

On the Road to
Development

The functionality of the Cold Chain vessel will undergo further evolution in the lab, and in the field, before it ultimately fulfills its mission to effectively deliver lifesaving vaccines to those who need them most. Tactile is proud to have contributed to the development of this important innovation.

“A better vaccine container may be a Band-Aid to the real problem of poverty and under development, but it can make a huge difference to millions of children, alleviating the disease burden for entire generations that would otherwise fall sick while waiting for the wheels of progress to develop their society. That seems like plenty of reason to do it.” -Nathan Myhrvold, CEO of Intellectual Ventures