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Year: 2017

Category: Designer

My Role: For my materials and methods grad project at Art Center College of Design, I was assigned to research an exciting opportunity to redesign a product. I chose to redesign a medical surgical stapler that can easily be used by any non-surgeon outside of a regulated surgery office. After further defining the need, an emergency skin stapler can come in handy for any nature enthusiast who might injure themselves and is too far away from medical help. The final redesign is named the Yarrow-Aid, outdoor skin stapler.

Project Brief

This project will reflect the translation of insights gained from the product dissection to the product redesign. The chosen medidcal device product: a surgical skin stapler primarily used in an outdoor emergency setting. A skin stapler dispenses one staple each time the instrument trigger is activated. The staples first penetrate the skin, then formed holding the tissue together. Below are examples currently in the market most suitable for indoor use only.

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Dissection of 3M Vista Stapler 

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How to use it?

Usage starts when user has an open wound and requires medical attention. After applying the sutures, the stapler body can be reused. Toss the head-cartridge of the stapler and purchase a new replacement one.

1. Evert and approximate skin edges.

2. Position stapler over center of everted skin edges. Squeeze the trigger fully until motion is halted (optional use numbing aesthetic before).

3. Release trigger fully to achieve staple release.

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New User Candidate

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User Journey Map

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In an emergency outdoor setting, self-apply medical sutures to a deep open wound. It must be adaptable to any outdoor factors and interactions.



• Portability    

• Medical Materials    

• Ease of Use    

• Replaceable Components

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In an OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT, medical setting standards* cannot be regulated due to multiple outdoor elements. Since this is the case the environment may also include at home, workplace, or another destination in the community or across the globe. Due to this, the stapler design must follow all the medical device regulations exactly.


Outdoor Elements Considered:

• Terrain (sand, dirt, grass, rocks)                 • Plantation (trees, plants, moss)

• Bodies of Water (lake, rivers, waterfalls)    • Weather Conditions (sunny, freezing) 

*Medical Facilities Environment Regulations and Standards: Safe Medical Devices Act of 1990, FDA Medical Device Reporting, and Health and Safety at Work Act Hospital

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During stapler use, the user needs intuitive usability, less pain as possible, accuracy, quickness, and reusability. Typical skin staplers require two users to administer the suture, one to evert the open skin edges and another to position and staple the wound close, this design needs to allow a single user to operate on themselves. Below are ideation concepts looking at different functional methods and form factors that meets the four defined needs: portability, medical materials, ease of use, and reusability.

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The yarrow plant is a natural bandage that acts as an antiseptic and helps stop bleeding. You can apply yarrow to a wound in the form of fresh leaves, powder, juice, or ointment.



The beetle has enough force generated by muscles in its head that it acts like a very long lever, that exerts force over a long distance and tight hinged jaws.

Color Inspiration


The color palette is inspired by Arc'teryx’s vibrant colors to help quickly identify the product in an outdoor setting. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet - these colors make up what Newton termed the visible light spectrum, white light. This is the toolbox for the Arc'teryx color team where they use any color that fits.

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Yarrow-Aid 'Outdoor Skin Stapler'


Instructions Guide

STEP 1: Spray anesthetic on the wound

STEP 2: Pinch the open wound together

STEP 3: Release the staple into the skin (repeat as needed)


Medical Materials

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