© 2019 Audrey Levy all rights reserved

Rubi

Home Monitoring for Liver Health

This project is a work in progress!

Rubi is an investigation of home wellness monitoring and telemedicine applications for those who must closely track liver function. The device uses light sensing technology to measure blood content indicative of liver health. A paired app collects data to identify trends over time and enable efficient communication between doctor and patient.

 

Initially, this product was intended to serve the medically vulnerable population of liver transplant recipients who spend enormous amounts of time and money on blood tests and doctor visits. In my research, I found that another sensitive population that requires liver tracking is newborn babies. Rubi's form is inspired by the lives of both these user groups, the objects they might surround themselves with, and the materiality of home.

 

I am currently working on this project so if you have feedback don't hesitate to reach out!

SOLO PROJECT

PROJECT DURATION

ongoing

Process

The Road So Far

Liver transplant is a life-saving last resort when the organ has failed due to damage or illness.

8,082

performed last year

17,000

on the wait list

$577,000

avg cost in first 6 months

70%

survival after 5 years

Meet Jamie

55 years old

Mother of three

Executive chef

Suffered liver failure due to hemochromatosis

Received a transplant 1 year ago  

Jaime will take immunosuppressants for the rest of her life.

This means regular doctor visits and blood tests.

Time Intensive

Invasive Testing

High Stress

Lifetime management is a balance.

Frequent monitoring is a must.

How might we help liver transplant recipients track organ health from home?

What's  the deal with Bilirubin?

When discussing the project with professors of physiology and immunology, I was directed toward bilirubin as a possible opportunity area. Elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood cause jaundice, which is a visible signal of a compromised liver.

These level changes are most universally visible in the nail beds and whites of the eyes, since skin color varies. Organ failure can also cause inflammation in the body, emanating heat with added blood flow.

Opportunity: Computer Vision

During the research phase, I gravitated especially toward opportunities that leveraged non-invasive monitoring. Patients already have to undergo extensive blood work and testing, so how could a passive system supplement current processes? Today computer vision is being used to track incredibly complex physical functions, from daily vital signs to disease diagnostics.

New Tech Spotlight:

Philips Bilichek

Another group that requires frequent bilirubin measurements is newborn babies. Like liver transplant recipients, this has historically been done with blood tests. The Philips Bilichek, however, takes a transcutaneous bilirubin measurement.

 

Basically, that means it measures bilirubin with a super sensitive light pressed against the forehead. Not only is it non-invasive, but it's also quicker and results are immediate. With this new research discovery, I decided to pivot to leverage transcutaneous bilirubin measurement.

How might we adapt transcutaneous bilirubin measurement for personal home use?

What do you want to touch your face with?

cute creatures

face puffs

tissues and kerchiefs

self-care objects   

Common Themes

bulbous shapes

pinched folds

tapered top touch point

wider face contact point

Form Development

Here's a peak into early form development. My goal is to create a playful form that fits into the home, flipping how we view the hardness and sterility of typical medical devices. I hope that by reframing how we view the objects that track our health, health tracking can become a less scary⏤and perhaps even delightful⏤endeavor.

What's in there?

What do fruit ripeness and bilirubin levels have in common? They can both be measured with a white LED and a spectrometer to collect spectral data from reflection on the skin!

Check out this cool project from the MIT Media Lab!

Up Next:

 

CMF development

Expand app user flow

Unboxing experience

Stay tuned :)