Susanna Berra

Design Challenge

Find new aesthetics in wearable devices for young diabetic people


A temporary customizable tattoo and a needle-free injection pen to keep the glucose on track without imposing a medical look

Personal contribution

Part in the concept idea
Tattoo developement
User testing

The project works on the topic of wearable devices for diabetic teenager, to improve the experience of having to wear everyday on the body a device to detect the glucose level of the blood. The products that are nowadays on the market have a lot of problems in therms of aesthetic and functionality, causing often distress expecially in young patients that are forced everyday to wear something that reminds them of their disease.
Our purpose is not to hide those kind of devices, but to show them in a better and more comfortable way. We redesigned the whole process of measuring the glucose and injecting the insuline, minding both the aesthetic component and the improvement of the functionalities.
With Glink, it will be possible to measure the glucose level through a customizable and non-invasive temporary tattoo, applied directly on the user’s arm, that works without needles and blood extraction. For the injection part, we improved the aesthetic and the ergonomics of the needle-free injection technology, to minimize the impact of the action on the patient’s daily routine.
We suggest the use of some technologies that are not on the market right now, but they are currenty under research and reasonably will be available in around 5 years.

1. Market analysis


Starting from the design challenge, we analyzed the market situation of wearable devices for diabetic people, from the functional and aesthetical point of view.
As result of this research, we found a market opportunity for a product that could satisfy the functional needs of the target without having a strong (and unappealing) medical look.

2. Defining the concept


The whole system was splitted into three parts:

– monitor the glucose level
– inject the insuline
– notificate the user

For each of them, we analyzed the possible body positions for a wearable device and selected the ones that better answered the criteria of visibility, sensitivity and feasibility.


After the initial research, we defined the target of teenagers with diabetes type 1, because they are most sensitive about the aesthetical and social appearance of their disease and they are learning to manage it without their parent’s help.

Personal contribution: persona design


We imagined how our product could help our target by visualizing a scenario in which the monitoring and delivery devices could be shown as fashion accessories, instead of hidden, and at the same time respond to all the user needs in terms of functions.

We defined the main functions as:
– glucose measurament
– visual alert for dangerous glucose level
– sensory alert for critical glucose level
– display of glucose values
– needle-free insuline injection

3. Prototyping

The technology

To imagine a working product, we looked for technologies either currently available or under research. We imagined that this concept could be feasible, assembling the right components, between 5 and 10 years from now.

paper battery  |  microcontroller  |  glucosensor+NFC  |  glucocromic pigment  |  hydrogel adhesive

Tattoo prototypes

The tattoos were designed as prototypes to give a general idea about the appearance and to test the presence of the technology inside the design.

Personal contribution: tattoo design

Injection pen studies

Meanwhile, we worked on redesigning the injection pen, starting from an existing technology of needle-free injection, to have an object with a more pleasant look and ergonomical grip.

4. UX research

"An alarm system on my skin would be useful in situations like a working day, in which I forget to measure the glucose level."
24 years old
"I like how a tattoo can also become a part of your self-expression!"
21 years old
"The change of colour is useful! I need just to know if the sugar it’s too high or too low, the exact number is not needed every time."
24 years old
"A good looking device can help us to feel less different."
22 years old

5. Final iteration

The final system, improved by the insight obtained through the UX research, is composed by:

– a temporary interactive tattoo, designed to be sticked to the forearm and changed after a while, that functions as a glucose detector and as an alert. It communicates with the user through sensory and visual stimuli, and the user can scan it to obtain more information;
– a needle-free injection pen, designed to be both easy to use and visual appealing, to de-stigmatize the action of the injection;
– an app that communicates with the tattoo, through which the user can keep track of the daily glucose measurament, check the suggested insuline dose, receive diet and sport tips and contact the doctor in case of necessity;
– a website through which the user can customize and order the tattoos to match his/her style.


The project has been prototyped through tattoo stickers that simulate the presence of the technology, a wireframe of the app, a pen physical prototype and a video scenario (below).

developed in: 2 weeks – June 2018
team: Susanna Berra, Davide Giuliano, Botond Lakatos, Fabiola Sartor, Elena Spadoni
tools: Adobe Illustrator/ InDesign, physical prototyping

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