One of the things I love about working as a design consultant is that you never know what kind of project is going to come in the door next. Diversity and variety is surely one of the passions that drive designers, and no matter how unusual the subject matter, we give it our full creative attention as if that project was the next greatest thing in the world.
And so it was that in the winter of 2008, Jarden’s Consumer Products division came to frog design to design the next generation of Myself Pelvic Muscle Trainer (PMT). For those who don’t know, this is a device that women insert into their vaginal openings to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles (also known as Kegel muscles). This can aid in treatment of urinary incontinence for women who are elderly or have recently given birth. An alternate use is to generally tone up those muscles for better sex. Whichever the use, the PMT device consists of a probe (which is inserted) that senses muscle contractions via an air bladder, and a handheld unit that reads that data and coaches the user through a series of exercises designed to increase tone and stamina. The original Myself PMT met the technical criteria, but there were some significant design issues that were acting as a barrier to adoption.
Our challenge as a design team was to reduce the intimidation-factor of the experience, reduce the stigma of the condition, ensure proper device orientation through study of ergonomics, and coach the user in a meaningful visual way via the digital display. Our team, consisting of industrial and digital designers, used the design process to iterate on several concepts.
The product launched successfully later the following year, but it will always have a warm place in my heart as one of the most interesting projects I’ve undertaken.
Team: Andy Logan, Jennifer Bettendorff, Cormac Eubanks