Cochlear Battery Charger

Improving the usability and user experience of cochlear implant devices.


Partner organisation

  • Cochlear Ltd.

Within the medical device industry, use errors are the leading cause of device error; one of the leading causes of device recall, and a cause of ongoing frustration for many medical device recipients. Design Health Collab worked with a leading medical device manufacturer Cochlear – makers of implantable hearing prostheses – to investigate how these devices could be made more usable. This larger project looked at how design research and practice could help support, understand, and create more positive holistic user experiences in the medical device industry.

The images show two of the early outcomes of this practice-based research, battery recharging devices that were re-designed to address use errors. The Cochlear Nucleus 7 ‘Y’ Charger was designed using methods advocated for within the FDA’s guidance document; ‘Applying Human Factors and Usability Engineering to Medical Devices.’ By redesigning the form to better indicate connection, a more usable and ergonomic device was created and validated through formal usability tests.

A series of co-design sessions expanded this redesign project beyond its initial scope through the input of cochlear implant recipients. Leading to the creation of an additional portable charging device – providing recipients with peace of mind when away from home. Throughout the design process, prototypes were used to consult with users and understand the impact of potential design changes. We encouraged and valued the input of these cochlear implant recipients as partners in the design process.