Dipolo: an innovative concept to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome pain

Based on the designer’s investigation into workers’ well-being, the project emerged following the discovery of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), motivating him to create a solution useful across multiple sectors

Giacomo De Paoli is a young designer from Northern Italy, raised in the beautiful Italian Dolomites, who won the 2023 DesignWanted Award with his Dipolo concept design, a solution that aims to treat carpal tunnel syndrome using electrostimulation and stretching exercises.

As a child, he spent much of his time drawing and exploring his surroundings, developing an interest in mechanics and motor-sports while accompanying his father to work at a factory producing robotic automation systems.

His passion for industrial design led him to pursue it as a career, where he focuses on creating products that generate benefits and make an impact on people’s lives. He follows a design philosophy that emphasizes cleanliness and simplicity of shapes while being bold when possible.

Giacomo De Paoli, winner of the 2023 DesignWanted Award, concept design category

Discover the story of Giacomo De Paoli and his Dipolo project, which will be showcased at La Cattedrale (Certosa area) during the upcoming Milan Design Week (17-23 April) as part of the co-produced exhibition ‘Innovation for Living’ by DesignWanted, Designtech & Isola Design.

Visitors to the exhibition (all winners here) will be able to engage in an interactive 3D augmented reality encounter with Dipolo, thanks to the cutting-edge technology platform SHOWin3D supplied by our Italian partner Shin Software.

Who is Giacomo De Paoli? How did your design journey begin?

Giacomo De Paoli:

“I am a determined, creative young man who was born in Northern Italy and raised close to the Italian Dolomites. As a child, I spent much of my time drawing and exploring the natural beauty of my surroundings. Additionally, I frequently accompanied my father to his work at a factory producing robotic automation systems, which sparked my interest in mechanics and motor-sports. I continue to watch Formula 1 races with my family to this day.

Dipolo by Giacomo De Paoli - DesignWanted Award - Milan Design Week 2023
Dipolo by Giacomo De Paoli, 2023 DesignWanted Award winner, concept design category

When it came time to choose my career path, I sought a profession that would encompass all of my passions. Industrial design proved to be the most fitting choice. Although I was unsure of what to expect at the beginning of my university education, I soon discovered that I was in the right place after many sleepless nights.”

You won the DesignWanted Award with the Dipolo concept design, a device that can relieve and treat the pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. How did you come up with the idea?

Giacomo De Paoli:

“This is an interesting story. Dipolo was born as a diploma project developed at ECAL – University of Art and Design in Lausanne. The project was based on my research on workers’ well-being, which led me to discover carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a disease that affects workers who repeat the same movements every day.

This inspired me to find a solution that could have a real impact on as many sectors as possible in the working world. After conducting research and interviews with physiotherapists, I found that TENS could be used to treat CTS. I contacted Compex, a Swiss company that manufactures electrostimulation units, and proposed collaboration, which they accepted. I learned during my research that electrostimulation alone does not generate significant benefits.

Dipolo by Giacomo De Paoli - DesignWanted Award - Milan Design Week 2023
Dipolo by Giacomo De Paoli, 2023 DesignWanted Award winner, concept design category

However, when combined with stretching exercises, it can be highly beneficial. This inspired me to create an object that could simultaneously provide both stretching exercises and electrostimulation treatment to the user. And thus, Dipolo was born.”

How would you describe your design philosophy? What are the aspects that you focus on the most when developing new products?

Giacomo De Paoli:

“Every project has a unique beginning and purpose, each sparked by a different inspiration. However, I adhere to the same philosophy for each project: constantly asking “why” to find the right answers and plan every detail according to the product’s purpose.

For me, the cleanliness and simplicity of shapes are essential elements for executing my projects correctly, while also being bold whenever possible. Whenever I embark on a new project, my focus is on creating a product that generates benefits and makes an impact on the people who will use it.

Dipolo by Giacomo De Paoli, 2023 DesignWanted Award winner, concept design category

I strive to establish connections and collaborations with companies, artists, artisans, and graphic designers, leading to the creation of new and unexpected products.

Sustainability, eco-friendliness, and longevity are also crucial considerations for me, and I trust my instincts to build products that embody these values.”

From an industrial design perspective, which are your vital tools, resources, and methods for you during the design process?

Giacomo De Paoli:

“The initial step towards a successful project is research. I immerse myself in books, museums, and the vast expanse of the internet. I engage in conversations with both potential users and experts in the relevant field, gathering as many diverse perspectives as possible. The challenge is to connect the dots, but there is no predetermined formula.

Another crucial factor in creating a successful project is to prototype extensively. Sometimes, I spend countless hours manipulating materials and shapes within a 3D software, even if they initially appear rough or flawed. These prototypes always offer insights that inform the design process.

To stimulate fresh ideas and foster creative contamination, I prefer working on several projects simultaneously.”

Dipolo by Giacomo De Paoli - DesignWanted Award - Milan Design Week 2023
Dipolo by Giacomo De Paoli, 2023 DesignWanted Award winner, concept design category

What is the next step for Giacomo De Paoli?

Giacomo De Paoli:

“Numerous concepts are constantly brewing in my mind – some are currently under development, while others await the ideal client. My goal is to persist in my efforts and explore opportunities that allow me to channel my creativity and make a constructive impact on the world.”


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