Case study

Neosonics

  • Client: Newborn Solutions (NBS)
  • Year: 2022

Neosonics is a unique, cell counting ultrasound-based device that allows quick and easy, non-invasive screening and monitoring of infections in serous body fluids, with a focus on infant meningitis.

Challenge

Newborn Solutions (NBS) is a medical device startup company founded in between Madri+d Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The team was recognized with the EIT Health Catapult Medtech prize (2020) and the Spanish Innovator under 35 award (2016).

By the time Xavi Jimenez (CEO) stepped into Stimulo office in 2018, they had worked hard in a promising high-frequency ultrasound technology which was able to non-invasively count white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid. The question was:

Could you help us transform this black box concept into a fully functional marketable medical device?

Turning concepts into tangible prototypes

The question was simple, but the answer was pretty complex. The challenge required precision mechanical engineering, electronic engineers, AI and image processing experts, Ultrasound scientists, product designers and of course a medical team. Together with NBS, a multidisciplinary team was created to work on the first of a long list of try and error prototypes, which finally allowed the team to bring a testable prototype to life. Stimulo intervention covers user research, design analysis, product design, mechanical engineering and digital interaction design.

Users (Healthcare professionals) at the centre

Neonatologists, Pediatricians and Nurses are the main users of the device, and that’s why they are not just someone to ask for feedback. Instead, they are part of our ecosystem and a decision maker member, making sure the team understands their needs, recommendations, pains and gains. Stimulo has conducted several and multicentric user interviews, workshops, and focus groups, allowing designers to get under their skin and collect first-hand comments that conform the foundations of our work.

Usability Test, Hospital La Paz, Madrid

Living Labs, CST - Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa

User Research, Hospital General de Granollers

Innovation at its best

This project is a perfect example of what innovation means to us, and how we deal with it. Will this solution work? How can we overcome this critical issue? Why did this proposal fail? How could we manage uncertainty?… It is a risky illusion to pretend to plan unexpected events, so we rather assume that as a natural part of the process. Scrum methodologies, agile-adapted philosophy, and dividing the project into smaller parts, allows us to focus on the next immediate challenge, progressing and adapting the roadmap according to the present reality. Multiple iterations were needed, involving scientists, engineers, data analysts and project managers who worked side by side to deliver improved outcomes.

Neosonics is a first-in-class medical device to non-invasively screen and monitor infant meningitis. Neosonics uses high-resolution ultrasound, unique coupling materials and artificial intelligence to automatically count at the push of a button and in just a few seconds white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid directly below the infant fontanel.

With the insights and user stories obtained in the research with clinitians,  Stimulo was responsible of designing the digital interface for both the device and the probe, ensuring an integral holistic user experience.

Value Delivery

For the client:

A fully working pilot run of 10 units of Neosonics, a sophisticated precision-engineering system using high-frequency ultrasound to non-invasively count white blood cell in the cerebrospinal fluid below the infant fontanel.

For clinicians:

A new standard for screening and treatment monitoring. This probe will revolutionize the management and diagnosis of infant meningitis by enabling quick, easy detection and quantitative, reliable and frequent treatment monitoring.

For Hospitals:

To improve both the quality of healthcare and healthcare systems sustainability

For Healthcare providers:

A fast, cost-efficient and non-invasive tool for screening and treatment monitoring.

For infants and their parents

Finally and most importantly, babies and parents will benefit from an easier, fast and non-invasive way to get their diagnosis, limiting the use of current invasive procedures (lumbar puncture).