Vscan Access : User understanding and device configuration for a portable Ultrasound.


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 70% of medical equipment designed in developed nations does not work in developing world facilities. GE saw an opportunity in creating a low cost, portable, pregnancy screening device -  designed and built for Primary Health care workers, midwives and paramedics in the developing world.

Indonesia was chosen as a market to observe and study  as Indonesia already has a well developed system of midwifery and delivery of pregnancy related care.


Design to Discover



Icarus Nova was presented with the challenge of understanding how to create a portable ultrasound device that would immediately inspire adoption by end user – midwives and health care workers. Easy adoption of a new device like this required special attention to various contexts of use, cultural nuances and existing patterns of usage. As important was the need to create a device which would look professional but at the same time not intimidate by feeling too technical

Quick Innovation Cycles

Given the limitations in observing end users for prolonged periods, we got GE to share as many images and descriptions of the Indonesian contest as possible.  Our team would be able to  conduct only one study in Jakarta, Indonesia, during which research, concept generation and prototyping had to be packed into a short period of time as multiple visits were not possible with the given time and budget constraints. Observations and insights drawn from the Indonesian midwife’s context, needed to be captured vividly - and quickly fed into our innovation process.

Simulating experiences

A midwife trainer from Singapore came over to Bangalore and give us a one day briefing on the important aspects of an examination including postures, constraints of space, etc. We decided to use these inputs along with the image bank and descriptions to come up with various hypothesis for device configuration that we would prototype. An "Indonesian Midwife Clinic" and user experience was recreated at our office, based on the information we had.


Just Enough Prototyping


Concept in Use

Using our ‘just enough' prototypes & Mock Clinic, we invited GE experts to test and enact actual ultrasound testing scenarios. This exercise immediately helped clarify the relative merits of the various configurations that were mocked up, allowing us to narrow down on device features and functionality. Subsequent prototypes were closer to the finished product.  The high fidelity prototypes were used by Icarus Nova and GE to test out configuration and usability hypotheses in Indonesia.



The process of using realistic high fidelity prototypes on the field, tested by clinicians led to insights which defined the architecture of VSCAN access. The device was developed and manufacturing by GE and launched in Indonesia.



GE Healthcare