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Vibratip: the testing device for diabetic neuropathy


University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

The University of Bristol needed a product design consultancy to create a device that would overcome many of the limitations of a tuning fork or monofilament, for Diabetic neuropathy.   A condition whereby patients with diabetes lose sensation in their feet making them prone to ulceration and eventual limb amputation.

The Brief

The brief was to design a single stimulus testing device for Diabetic neuropathy that could be wiped clean and was small enough to be concealed in the hand.

This device also needed to be silent in operation to minimize cueing. A good battery life was also an essential requirement, as was the necessity for vibration sense to be assessed rapidly from almost any angle.

Research and Development

Creating product designs for medical purposes requires some specific research and consideration.  On this project this included:

Visiting hospitals to help understand the use-case scenarios.

Analysing existing testing devices such as tuning forks or monofilaments

Considering factors including ergonomics, size, form, noise in operation, battery life, and how to ensure the device remained sterile for each new patient

Product Design features

Touch sensitive power button

Small and discrete

Wipe clean surface

Quiet operation

Long battery life

Rounded head so vibrations sensed from any angle

Discrete and compact

At just 50mm in length the device can be concealed in the hand when in use, then wiped clean and stored


Research & Development

Concept sketching


Design for manufacture

Regulatory compliance

If you need a Product Design Consultancy with Medical Device experience and ISO 13485 accreditation get in touch with our team.

Find out more about vibratip