Patients with Dystonia or Parkinson's have a problem with a wide variety of uncontrolled muscle movements. The Synaptix Deep Brain Stimulator gives muscle control back to the patients through the use of a surgically implanted stimulator in the brain. Synaptix is a pioneer in the development of medical implants.

Achilles Design was asked to design and engineer all the external components of this system. From initial concept all the way to first production.

The variety of the uncontrolled muscle movements means that the interaction with the device could be problematic. Because of this it was decided that the main focus of the entire project had to be making the product user friendly and offer the patient more autonomy. To realize this we used many user centered research tools such as personas, role playing, and usability tests.

Based on the experiences and interviews with different patients and surgeons, we created an outline of different types of potential users. From this outline, the categories which would benefit the most from this surgical procedure and categories which had the highest economic potential were chosen. Using the personas from these categories, different concepts were developed, tested and fine-tuned.

Thanks to the extensive user testing, we succeeded in engineering a high-tech product that is good looking and simple for the user to operate.

For Synaptix, the collaboration with Achilles was a way for them to quickly bring in expertise in user-centered design, styling, and mechanical engineering. By doing this they could ensure that the external components of the system would be finished to the same high level of quality as their implants are.

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