From proof-of-concept to product
When Meds2Go knocked on Spark’s door, the company had already done a lot of work and completed a proof-of-concept model. Their cooling container uses passive cooling by way of cooling elements (so-called phase-changing materials) and vacuum insulation in order to manage temperature-sensitive medicines (so-called biologicals).
Hugo Honijk, Spark’s project leader, adds: “In addition, they had already carried out tests and measurements and determined the technical specifications. It’s up to us at Spark, taking account of these conditions, to improve the user experience and turn the proof-of-concept into a real product.”
That means, in the first instance, coming up with a display that shows the temperature of the medicines. Honijk: “To connect the sensor at the heart of the container with the display on the outside, through all the insulating layers, was quite a challenge.” In addition, it had to be possible to place the cooling elements and different sorts of medicines easily but securely in the container. To this end, the container got two caps – underneath and on top – both of which can be properly well-insulated closed with aerogel.
At the start of the project, the objective was to achieve a reliable cooling time of a full day. Thanks to smart design choices, the end result considerably exceeds this goal. Because space is limited when travelling, a more compact version is obvious. Yet, a survey of users suggest that the size of the container is no barrier to it being accepted by the target group. Honijk: “Probably because of the freedom and certainty that they get in return. What’s more, we have taken the design of the container seriously.”
“It has become a real product, not a stigmatizing aid. Something that you’re happy to be seen with. The design, with wide bands and the screen, evokes associations of voyages of discovery and adventure. Really an extra emotional layer.”