Date
July 18, 2021
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Inspired by the form and function of musical instruments, the OPlay is an innovative solution for asthma medication and monitoring the condition in children.

Health-induced anxiety in children is a very real issue so designing products that empower them to take ownership of their health are essential. That’s the idea behind OPlay, a device for young asthma sufferers inspired by musical instruments, which is a delight to look at but even more of a delight to use. 

Created by designers at Jiangnan University in China, the OPlay concept translates the complex process of monitoring asthma symptoms and the administering of medicine into several simple steps. It was designed with the aim of making the tedious therapy a joyful recital and encouraging children to take ownership of the process.

OPlay - product closeup
OPlay is an innovative solution for asthma medication and monitoring the condition in children – © Jieying Mo

Rather than reproduce another cold and rigid medical product, the designers opted for a rounded form inspired by the shape of wind musical instruments to make the device more psychologically accessible to children. When children use OPlay, the device senses actions and plays corresponding melodies to signify different feedback during each operation stage.

The device integrates two devices already used to treat and monitor asthma sufferers. These include a spacer, which is a device used to increase the ease of administering aerosolized medication from a metered-dose inhaler, and a peak flow measurer, which monitors how quickly a user can blow air out of their lungs. 

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OPlay - explanation
OPlay is a device for young asthma sufferers inspired by musical instruments, which is a delight to look at but even more of a delight to use – © Jieying Mo

“We modeled the shaking of the medication as a sand hammer, the pressing of the medication as a triangle, and the inhaling and exhaling as a harmonica,” designers explain. “The rounded tube is easier for children to grasp and use, compared to the traditional inhaler’s L shape.”

The body is made of Silicone Polycarbonate (PC) silicone, which is safe and skin-friendly for children and the pill reservoir is coated with Anti-Static Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene to improve suction efficiency. Meanwhile, the illuminating feature on the device emits a calming array of blue and white lights

OPlay - features
The body is made of silicone and the pill reservoir is coated with Anti-Static Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene to improve suction efficiency – © Jieying Mo

“By transforming the [process of monitoring asthma] into something fun and musical, we not only aim to help them build acceptance and confidence in themselves but also to help them develop good medication and measuring habits,” says designers. 

The designers have also conceptualised an accompanying app that would make monitoring the condition an easy process allowing users to track measuring records. Inside the app, users can make changes to the music and unlock new melodies by maintaining good medication and monitoring habits.

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OPlay - how it works
OPlay - light indicator
When children use OPlay, the device senses actions and plays corresponding melodies to signify different feedback during each operation stage – ©Jieying Mo
OPlay - app
The designers have also conceptualised an accompanying app that would make monitoring the condition an easy process allowing users to track measuring records – © Jieying Mo
OPlay - complete system
Inside the OPlay app, users can make changes to the music and unlock new melodies by maintaining good medication and monitoring habits – © Jieying Mo
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