Industrial - Honours

la tête

La tête is a design-aid device that helps designers and engineers assess their "face proning support" designs by monitoring and recording the amount of pressure on the human face over time.

la tête

The first face pressure measuring design-aid product

Despite all the preventative measures, hospital-acquired pressure injuries are still a significant issue in the healthcare system. In the case of mechanically ventilated ICU patients, “head supports” play an essential role in developing pressure injuries. However, current solutions are not optimised for different head shapes and can not address the complexity of the human face form.
For the first time, la tête allows designers and engineers to assess the validity of their “head support” designs for prone patients on a human face replica with embedded pressure sensors. They can monitor and record the amount of pressure on specific areas on the face that are more susceptible to developing pressure injuries.

The image shows the front half of a 3D printed human skull covered by translucent skin attached to a white thick aluminium stand from the back. The "stand" has two parts. The top part is sheet metal with a wide-angle bent on top of another sheet metal with approximately the same size and a narrow-angle bent. The top part of the bottom sheet covers the bottom part of the top sheet.
In front of the stand, there is a rectangular white box with an angled black surface. There is a touch screen display on the left with the words "record" and "live" separated by a vertical line.
There is a power button on the bottom right-hand side of the black surface.

Main Parts

La tête has two separate components: The press and the control unit. The “head” on the press is equipped with an IDC connector that allows a 16 wire ribbon cable to transfer the data (of up to 15 FSR sensors) to the control unit.
The image shows the stand in multiple heights.

The Press

The “press” holds a 3D printed head (consisting of soft and bone tissues) that moves freely on an almost vertical axis to accommodate various support surface sizes. In addition, it replicates the effect of gravity on the face by gradually sinking into the pillow.
Right below the translucent skin and level with the surface of the skull, multiple FSR sensors are positioned in specific areas that are more susceptible to developing pressure injuries.
The image shows the front and the back of the control unit. The front has a touch screen display on the left and a power button on the right. On the back, there is an SD card slot positioned horizontally close to an IDC connector.

Control Unit

The control unit has a user-friendly touch screen UI that walks the user through the simple recording steps. The data will be stored on an SD card as a CSV file, readable by any spreadsheet program.
The image shows the control unit from the top view. Left part of the device is visible, and the screen shows the following.
Duration (Hrs)
Min 1 - Max 24
There is a large number (18) in the middle of the screen with two large plus and minus signs on the right and the left, respectively.
At the bottom of the screen, the words "previous" and "next" are separated by a short vertical line.

Unit Interface

Users can choose to record the pressure readings for up to 24 hours, with chosen intervals between 5 to 30 minutes.
They also can view the readings live on the screen by choosing live view. The control unit captures the force sensor data and the relative humidity and temperature, which might affect the accuracy of the sensors.

The following image shows the result of an actual 24 hours simulation with 10 minutes intervals on a conventional proning pillow used in RBWH.
The lines above 200 show the data from the FSR sensors on specific areas of the face (shown on the right). The orange area is the temperature, and the blue area is the room’s relative humidity during simulation.

The image shows a graph for the 24-hour data collection with 10 minutes intervals. The vertical axis marked pressure (mV) and is from 0 to 600, and the horizontal axis is marked Time (min) and is from 0 to 1400.
An image of a human skull from the front is marked with the location of 4 sensors. Lines start from different places; however, all show a slight increase in the pressure over 24 hours.
At the bottom of the graph, relative humidity and temperature are shown at around 25 degrees Celcius and 55%, respectively.
The thesis that triggered the creation of la tête!
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Roozbeh Fakhr

Rooz is a Designer with an extensive IT background who started his professional design career at Studio Tehran (Iran) as a Graphic Designer. After moving to Australia, he studied Industrial Design at QUT, where he fell in love with Human-Centred Design for Health.