Titan / MicroMax
SonoSite, 2000 - 2002
previous design, dubbed the "Fisher-Price" ultrasound machine by radiologists; design by a major, West-coast design firm
mood boards of design style differences by David & his team
stand mockup by David's ID team
form factor / component layout studies by David Schultz
sketch of chosen design concept, by David
the easy portability of the C2 products enable ultrasound anywhere- from emergency rooms to medivac helicopters and battleground medical facilities
SonoSite's goal with the Titan was to create a machine with a new chipset that could be developed to drive more advanced imaging capabilities, and to increase the screen size and resolution over the current product. David realized the true, unrecognized need for SonoSite- create a new design language that would help radiologists and hospital administrators accept the design as a "true" ultrasound machine (the previous design was dubbed the "Fisher-Price" machine by doctors.)
The design & research team interviewed and observed doctors and sonographers in Seattle, San Diego, Germany, France, England, Ireland, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore to fully understand the regional and national differences in ultrasound- use modes, postures, ergonomic problems etc. The design team tested foam mockups of various form factors to understand how and where they fit in the hospital environment, and to confirm ideas about portability and storage.
David created the initial mechanical layouts to understand volumes and dimensions of the product to help guide the design concepts. He and his team created design language boards to better explain the design language differences and potential impact of the new language. David created a series of design concepts that expressed the new language- a statement of technology and engineering precision that better expressed the science of what was happening inside the machine.
Once the design concept was chosen, David worked with the Human Factors team to develop the layout of controls and system UI. He created the external surface model database on CDRS software, which was ported directly into the Pro-E engineering database to eliminate translation errors of the design intent from ID to Mechanical Engineering and tooling. He worked with the ME team on design implementation, such as using the handle volumes as sound chambers for the speakers (to enable quality sound reproduction of echo-cardiograms.)
David led his team to design and develop a stand that would allow for the full replacement of an ultrasound cart experience, minus the cost and 200+lb weight.
As the product entered final development, the marketing team began to panic- at launch, the Titan design would have the exact same imaging quality and capabilities as the current machine, yet the manufacturing cost of the new hardware and stand was significantly higher. They were soon to get an education in the power of design language. Every specialist who was able to preview pre-production samples had the same reaction: "finally, you guys built a real ultrasound machine!" This response allowed SonoSite to price the system at a far higher price-point than the previous machine and still dramatically increase sales.
The Titan design was so successful it has been adopted to create three distinct product lines (the original Titan, and with a larger screen the Micro-Maxx and M-Turbo). The greater sales volumes and higher margins of the Titan family of products drove SonoSite to No. 18 in the Seattle Times “Northwest 100”, with 37% annual growth in revenue. More importantly, the machines have been used to save lives around the world. The family of products have received multiple design awards, including a 2005 “Good Design” award and a 2006 I.D.S.A. Bronze “IDEA” award.