Improving design of medical devices


Portex is a world renowned brand that leads the way in human airway management, anesthesia and pain management. Its products are found in nearly all hospitals and alternate care environments around the world. Portex required a new design for a speaking-valve product.


Speaking valves can restore the power of speech to people using tracheostomy tubes. The brief: ‘improve the existing product which is difficult to clean, obtrusive and noisy during speech’.


The final design simply hinges open when unclipped; no need to separate parts when cleaning or conducting other procedures. The design is visually unobtrusive with no visible moving parts. By using two-part construction (a first!) the valve itself produces no noise and makes the user’s speech more natural. The product raised the bar and is now in widespread use.