By Aaron Heskes

Buck models are integral to developing ideas as they allow users to experience the scale, weight, ergonomic potential, and feature set of a device in a use case scenario. Here we have a few examples from a project wherein the goal was to design a portable insulin solution for type-1 diabetics.

This early foam core mockup offered the basic functionality of a feature which records food consumption and appropriate insulin intake. As in: “How much did I eat at breakfast and when did I last shoot insulin?”

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Early mockups like these test out methods of recording and presenting important information to users. Considerations included the clarity of the graphic icons and the order of operations for shooting insulin.

Once you’ve defined how one interacts with the device, it’s time to consider packaging. Specifically, for medical devices, it’s important to accommodate the standardized elements that must fit into the device. This defines the initial scale. This metal bar was turned on the lathe so that users could handle the device in its intended real world scale. It has functional knobs on the side so that users can evaluate the ease of use.

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Finally, a high-fidelity buck model can be made with the changes informed by the earlier models. This one was modeled in the computer and 3d printed. At this stage, the buck model has the physical functionality of the real thing. The first knob is a time-of-injection setting and the second knob dials a dose of insulin, extending the button appropriately. These 3 types of buck models will serve you well, especially in terms of getting serious user feedback.

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