The future of diabetic neuropathy testing

Product: Vibratip
Company: 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.


– Research & Development
– Concept sketching
– Prototyping
– Design for manufacture
– Regulatory compliance


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