Research Spotlight: Asthma Inhaler

[Lashara Van Heerden | Features Manager]

The University of Hertfordshire has given Ms Antje Illner and Prof Mark Bloomfield (School of Creative Arts) and Dr David Chau and Ms Roohi Mehra (Department of Pharmacy) the UH Diamond Fund 2015 Award. Sarah Guirguis, a 3rd Year MPharm student, will also be part on the program. The funding will support their project to explore the feasibility of designing and making asthma inhalers that are stylish and user friendly.

The aim is to develop a better relationship between the patient and their medication. For instance, children’s inhalers that are not gender specific, but rather look at different ages. There are animals, like bunnies and foxes with ears, to encourage users to engage the medication more regularly and promote confidence.

Antje Illner, Subject Group Leader for the Contemporary Design Crafts degree says:

“For blokes the inhalers are a bit more rugged, for older people a bit more tactile, for women a bit more elegant for when they go out. So that the medication itself looks good and people feel much more confident using it in public, instead of: ‘No, I don’t like that and don’t use it really.’”

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The designs are elegant, approachable and handy with little hooks at that can be clipped to clothing or bags.

Illner adds:

“I am part of a team. I work with the pharmaceutical guys, they know how the medication works and what needs to be addressed, but they don’t know about the creativity of the design itself. We create these from a rapid prototype and get them done with new technology. It can be one piece and it is cheap. They can be produced quite reasonably”

The ambition is to improve patient compliance with devices such as asthma inhalers, hearing aids and insulin pens, by creating medical apparatuses that are attractive and not objects of embarrassment.

You can learn more about the project on Facebook.

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Research Spotlight: Asthma Inhaler