Friends, I am absolutely giddy over all the discussion spurred by yesterday's Open Letter to Steve Jobs. The idea was to push the issue of medical device design vs. consumer "lifestyle" design to the forefront, i.e. raise a red flag to the tech-design community that can help us, and get people people talking. I'd say we accomplished that with flying colors. Michael Arrington's post over at TechCrunch resonated throughout the blogosphere.
There were those who disagreed:
"Medical device companies would never spend that much per meter. They basically are just optimizing their measurement technique for low meter cost and battery life. iPod would not help with either of those."
"The failure rate of iPods is very high. you do not want this company making a medical device unless you want to look very cool while you slip into a diabetic coma when it fails..."
"It is ridiculous to think that an insulin pump can be the size of a nano... Should we ask Steve Jobs to design these devices? No. Let Apple do what they're good at and the drug companies do what they're good at (in both cases, robbing us blind). My suggestion is to try working with Steve Jobs the philanthropist, not the designer."
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And the undeniably funny:
"Yeah! iGlasses, iTeeth..."
"As a person with Type 1 diabetes, I look at the devices on the market and I wonder if they were designed by two MBAs while out for a drink."
"OK, I'll do it... Now, if only I can find a way to sell the glucose measuring strips in the iTunes store." (Some joker impersonating Steve Jobs)
And lots of folks who were inspired:
"Our problem is that the device creators have satisfied our basic needs and then just stopped. We have Functionality and Reliability but none of the other design needs (page 106 of the book Universal Principles of Design) of Usability, Proficiency, and most importantly, Creativity."
"Design matters, aesthetics matter. We assume the insides are going to work, now let's spend some more time and energy on the outside, so that we can move beyond the pump as simply a 'medical device' to something larger like a 'health and life enhancer' for people with diabetes. Good function and good design are not an either/or proposition."
"I don't think that anyone is suggesting that we make Apple (as it stands currently) a medical device manufacturer. Only partner them with someone like Johnson & Johnson ... and let's all bask in the glow of great functionality, usability, style and comfort while not being bothered every minute by our disease."
"Would this make me any healthier? Not by itself. But here's my thought. If making the user experience more friendly, and as a result makes me want to take readings that many more times a day, then yes, it just might lead to better control, and overall contribute to better health and a longer, more enjoyable, productive life. Apple could definitely help with this."
As a result of the letter, I was interviewed yesterday for NPR's Future Tense nationwide radio show, which with any luck will air this evening at 5:30pm Pacific. I've also been contacted by Stanford's Biodesign Innovation Program and several diabetes technology start-ups for input on "personal medical device design."
So it looks like we've finally captured the widespread (but fickle) imagination of the consumer gadget/ Internet design world, and I say we should ride this wave while the going is good! Thanks for all of your varied opinions. Keep the comments and suggestions coming.
Onward and Upward...