the breast ultrasound probe

“1 in every 8 women will have breast cancer. If they can find out about it in stage 0, nobody will have to die from it anymore."
A non-invasive, low-cost, women-centered, and empowering breast ultrasound device for early detection of breast cancer. 
Timeline: 10 weeks in Fall 2019
Class: Advanced Industrial Design in collaboration with Tactile
My role: Industrial Design, System Design, Market Research, Technology Research
Tools: Rhino, Keyshot

See the UX project

The Details​​​​​​​
A radiation-free and anxiety-free experience
Bossom uses a compressive ultrasound technology to enable women to check their breasts in a non-invasive way. The integrated mobile application removes anxiety and sense of vulnerability by navigating women through the step-by-step scanning process and by empowering women with information about breast cancer.
So cheap that every woman can afford to become the expert of their own body
Bossom uses a compressive coded mask to diffuses the ultrasound wave and to reduce of the number of required sensors from thousands to one, thereby bringing the cost down significantly.

A connected and transparent process
The mobile app integration allow women to perform breast check with guidance and send scanning images to their doctors directly. They can also talk to their doctors about any concerns within the app.
The Challenges
1. Solving a complex and sensitive problem
Breast cancer has been a major medical challenge for centuries. Although it's very treatable during early stages, most women still suffer from it because of difficult detection and lack of awareness. It is also a very sensitive topic because it creates fear and pain for a lot of women.

2. Becoming an expert in breast cancer
In order to design for Breast Cancer, I had to become an expert in the condition, symptoms, treatment methods, current technology, emerging technology, products on the market, research in progress, patients' journey, and so on.

3. Creating a brand new experience
Since there isn't any wireless breast ultrasound device on the market, I had to create a new and complete ecosystem for the product, from production to usage.
The Process 
Research, Research, Research
At the beginning of this project, I knew nothing about Breast Cancer. I started by reading extensive articles and papers, listening to people talk about their own stories, and going to a local breast cancer walk to get more in-depth information about the condition and how it affects women both physically and emotionally.
Understanding why it's scary is the key to reduce fear
Nobody is born to deal with cancer, nor does anyone wants to. From research, I learned that every steps in the journey of having cancer is terrifying and dehumanizing, especially during treatment and recovery.
Design Backwards
I started the design process from the end: what I want this product to achieve, what is the user experience like, who will be using it, how much it should cost, and what material and finishing I want to create to evoke a certain emotion, etc.
Design to humanize, to dignify, to do no harm
The shape of Bossom is inspired by the organic and beautiful shape of women bodies. The design takes a cosmetic product approach instead of a medical one to provide a sense of security and dignity.
Don't fall in love with your concepts too early
It was hard for me to give up on an early concept of Bossom because I thought it would be the most beautiful form I could come up with. However, after realizing the old form didn't allow the best use case scenario and ergonomics, I decided to start over and maximize both form and function.
Human-centered design involves lots of trials and fails
3D printing my quick 3D models to test the human factors of each idea helps me to flush out what works and what does not in an efficient manner.
Integrate Emerging Technology to improve affordability
According to a research paper in the Netherlands, putting a compressive coded mask in front of the Piezo sensors can decrease the number of sensor needed from thousands to one, which brings the cost of Bossom down significantly.
Visual language is part of the story
The ostensibly weird blue shapes are not random. They resembles benign breast tumor shapes in a beautiful and non-intimidating way. The form is carried through the app and packaging design. New York Extra Large is a very elegant yet legible font. It works effectively both on mobile screens and printed materials.
The Learning
Women tend to neglect their own needs and well-beings. Design should start with helping them to become the expert of their own bodies.
When I went to the Breast Cancer Walk in Seattle, an expert from the Swedish Cancer Institution told me: "Women don't go to their doctor's appointments because they are too busy taking care of other people." What she said made me think a lot about how women should be more aware of their breast health and how I can use design to empower them to care about themselves more.

Don't sacrifice user benefits for a problem you don't think you can solve.
Before I read the paper about compressive 3D ultrasound, I thought I'd design a traditional ultrasound device that would cost a lot of money. So I focused on those who could afford it. However, what I really wanted to do is to design for the many people, regardless of where they are and how much money they have. So I decided to stick with my targeted user group and kept looking for ways to bring the cost down. Luckily, after weeks of research, I found a valid solution.
Moving forward, there's a lot I can still do
Recently, I just validated the mechanism of Bossom with the Dutch lab that invented the compressive 3D ultrasound technology. I'm looking to further explore the idea and hopefully realize it one day to benefit millions of women in the world.
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