Finalist 2020

StomaBear-An intelligent stomabag

Miranda Liu, RMIT University

Building up an emotional connection through stoma bear’s little stoma bag

A colostomy is a surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall, one end of the colon is diverted through the abdominal wall to create a stoma. A stoma is the opening in the skin where a pouch (stoma bag) for collecting faeces is attached.

The design invites an alarm system to ease the patients’ hourly checking pressure while building up an emotional connection through stoma bear’s little stoma bag.

Design Excellence

Children face extreme insecurity while wearing a stoma bag daily. Having a stoma is like having a wound which will never recover. They feel disabled, as the stoma bag may suddenly burst while sleeping, which is the top concern according to stoma bag users.

The narrative of StomaBear is to design an intelligent stoma bag related product for children from age 3-9, which can solve the stoma bag\’s leakage problem, so parents don’t have to check regularly.

Design Impact

For patients with a stoma bag, StomaBear significantly improves their quality of life and that of the whole family. Also, if implemented in hospitals, the product can also be a time-saving tool for nurses, carers can keep an eye on the patient’s stoma bag without need to physically be there, thus to increase hospital efficiency.

Emotionally this product gives young patients a new way to face disability. As lack of confidence is the second biggest problem of wearing a stoma bag besides leaking hazards according to research from Journal of coloproctology. This emotionally positive impact will be life-long and can influence all the people intimately involved in the stoma patient’s life, raising awareness about caring for disabled people and empowering them to live full confident lives.

Design Transformation

StomaBear’s concept is the first-ever intelligent stoma bag related product that combines technological functions along with emotional consideration to improve the patient’s quality of life. The gender-neutral design shows equitable use for both boys/girls. With child-friendly instruction video, the product is simple, intuitive and flexible in use, with low physical effort through the use of technology.

Design Innovation

According to Coloplast care, Stoma bags needed to be emptied 1-3 times a day.

This design aims not only to solve the anxiety of frequent checking faced by parents but also to focus on the emotional connection with children, the child will feel empowered and confident instead of disabled.

The intended user is the child age from 0-8 who uses a stoma bag and their carers.

The StomaBear detects waste level in the stoma bag using a moisture sensor so that regular checking is not needed, and worried can be alleviated about leakages at night.

When the bag is nearly full, the app alarms to remind parents to empty the stoma bag.

Other Key Features

StomaBear uses Particle IOT to upload code into the cloud. The code is written together with Blynk to develop and building a connection with the phone app. The main digital part is a liquid levelling sensor, which is common in the marketplace for various uses.

For users, the technology is easy to understand, as the connection process is familiar to the process of connecting with Bluetooth. They can adjust their notification preference in the app, thus it\’s easy to customize and use according to different user\’s needs.

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