Ultrasonic Dental Scaler

We recently completed the industrial design for a next generation ultrasonic dental scaler, which included innovative features to improve operator comfort and reduce operational strain: a wireless, tap-on foot control with latching technology to ease leg strain, modes that auto-cycle between important, commonly-used functions, and a hands-free boost activation.

To emphasize these improvements, our client wanted a new look; one that would clearly show, "This is new. This is better." We immersed ourselves in dental offices to identify the most desirable characteristics of dental equipment, and conducted interviews - supported with renderings and painted models - with clinicians in those offices and at trade shows in Chicago and London.

We redesigned the information center on the front of the scaler to include improved iconography and updated mode indicators with new backlighting and deadfront capabilities. We worked in close collaboration with 3rd-party manufacturers to hone color and light masking. The result was a modern and mature look appropriate for a product with a 40-year history from a company that continues to innovate.

In addition to the updated industrial design and user experience, we also helped our client solve a long-standing problem with some existing dental scalers - the hand piece holder would loosen over time, increasing the likelihood of dropped and damaged hand pieces. We studied the behaviors of clinicians when docking and undocking the hand piece and benchmarked the physical forces applied during those acts. We were able to isolate the cause of the problem, redesigned the holder to eliminate it, and worked with manufactures to implement the improved design. The result was a new mechanical design that solved the problem, maintained the visual design integrity, and could be retrofitted onto existing field units.

Training and Facilitation
Interface Design
Industrial Design
Human Factors
Ethnographic Research
Mechanical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Software Engineering
Full Service Development