Bluedrop Medical is an exciting and innovative start-up based in Galway, whose aim is to develop a medical device – a smart weighing scales – for use by diabetic patients to prevent foot ulcers. With their product currently in the prototype stage, Bluedrop co-founder Chris Murphy sat down with Mint Tek’s CFO Georgina Kearney, to discuss their progress.
Chris explained that, as they didn’t have a background in electronics, they focused very much on the concept and utility of the product – what exactly they wanted their device to do.
The creation of their medical hardware prototype allowed them to reach out to contract manufacturers, engineers, and designers, fielding every idea, and enabled them to be confident that this team could create something. “We were very optimistic as to what’s possible – what isn’t possible we left to others to find out.”
They started small at first – “messing around with Raspberry Pis” – but worked their way up to their current position with a contract manufacturer. A major benefit of this outsourcing of their prototypes is that it enables Murphy and his co-founder, Simon Kiersey, to concentrate on their own strengths and ideas, which was biomedical engineering – “we were relying on other people, and were really lucky”.
But while they eventually teamed up with a strong contract manufacturer for the final development of their prototype device, that didn’t stop the team at Bluedrop Medical from manipulating everyday items and testing them out on small focus groups – these groups ranged not only from friends and family, but also to actual patients with conditions similar to those that Bluedrop want to aid with their new device. “We looked at focus groups and the combination of all that research led us down the path we’re going today.”
And how have they found this process of outsourcing to a contract manufacturer? “It’s great for us”, Chris says, “we effectively have a whole team of people working on our product – they have a suite of different expertise”. And the experience has also led Bluedrop to make their first hire – “we have had to take on an electronic engineer – someone on our team who knows what they’re dealing with.”
Chris and his colleagues are also very confident that we’ll see their device on the market in 12 to 18 months’ time – incredibly impressive given the typically long regulatory lead times associated with medical device innovation. Clearly, it’s a ringing endorsement of, not only their product, but their company, and their team.
What’s your experience with hardware prototype development? Reach out and let us know – we’d love to hear about your journey!