IACT 375 - Perceptual and Cognitive Human Factors

Overview

Simulo is a companion device that allows for early cancer detection for patients that are believed to be at risk. By using a sophisticated electronic sensor that has the ability to replicate the mammalian olfactory system, Simulo is able to illustrate internal functions of the human body through exhaled breath.

Objective

Over the course of a 10 week sprint, our team was prompted to explore how we may implement IoT and Digital Twin Technology in conjunction within an existing industry to solve problems in the near future. After researching various industries and exploring the existing technology that was already in place, we decided to continue with the healthcare industry; specifically preventative healthcare.

Our Approach
When exploring what digital twin technology might look like in the healthcare space, we narrowed our scope to focus on patients that were more susceptible to a cancer diagnosis within their lifetimes. It was our goal to both provide patients with a solution that allows for the monitoring of this possible cancer diagnosis, as well as allowing those who are undergoing remission to get real time updates about their test results in a visually understandable way.


Online Surveys
To gain a better understanding of the current state of the healthcare space, we began our initial research with a series of online surveys, addressing both healthcare patients as well as healthcare professionals.

When conducting our initial surveys, we found that while 81% of patients stated that they do not use a healthcare device, 78% expressed interest in using them. This provided us with a tangible opportunity to explore, with regard to creating a healthcare device dedicated to the prevention of cancer.

Insights from Patients
In order to understand our primary audience: individuals diagnosed with cancer who have either achieved remission, or are going through treatment, we conducted several surveys and user interviews with individuals who are cancer survivors and individuals with a family history of cancer, who may be worried about their risk of disease.
Insights from Providers
We also interviewed healthcare providers, in order to understand the full cancer journey and the relationship between patient and provider. We wanted to gain insight on whether or not healthcare providers trusted wearable devices that monitor activity. It was important for us to understand the root of the anxiety patients feel when going to get their lab results, and why time was a large factor in that.
Personas
User Journeys
Our Opportunity
After conducting 8 weeks of research, a common theme of problems began to arise between both our patients and providers. Our opportunity space was made very clear, and we set off to design solutions for these problems:

  • Visualization of internal bodily functions; specifically for the affected organ(s).
  • Creating an easier way for patients to access & understand complicated test results.
  • Overview of current health status, with ability to share with loved ones or caretakers.
  • Synced, up to date vitals & overall health status to be monitored and accessed during appointments.
  • Ability to provide timely updates throughout patient test journey.
  • Automated lab system.
Design Process
Our Solution
Our vision for early cancer detection resulted in designing around a sophisticated electronic sensor that has the ability to replicate the mammalian olfactory system. Research shows that cancer cells produce a unique smell that differs significantly from normal functioning cells. Thus, smell indicates the possibility of a cancerous growth, allowing for better control and direction of treatment for our users.

The sensor nested within the Simulo unit is able to read the internal function of the human body through exhaled breath.

The sensor is only a few centimeters in size, and poses a non-invasive approach to detecting cancer. It is economic, as the price of emerging sensors lower as technology advances. This sensor is reliable, as it has been tested alongside mammograms with 90% accuracy in discovering cancer.