Dezeen Magazine

Alissa Rees designs wearable alternative to traditional hospital drips

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Alissa Rees has developed an intravenous system that can be worn, giving hospital patients more freedom to move around.

The IV-Walk project forms part of Rees' ongoing projects to "humanise the hospital", by introducing designs that are more patient-friendly. They are all based on her own experiences as a cancer patient.

Designed to be worn over the shoulders of the patient, her drip is encased in soft fabric. It offers a more mobile alternative to the metal poles usually used to support intravenous (IV) systems.

"I have been in hospital myself for long periods, and I realised things have to change," Rees told Dezeen. "When I came to Design Academy, I realised my combination of being a former leukaemia patient and a designer, and what I could do with it."

"One day, I was attached to an IV pole for five weeks, without any moment of separation. The pole makes it hard to escape the hospital room, visit the bathroom or even enter elevators."

Rees made the wearable drip from a soft, squishy fabric for ultimate comfort. Instead of hanging from a metal pole, fluids are stored in pouches and pumped through a tube into the hand.

The product allows patients to walk around more freely, enabling them to get fresh air and exercise – something Rees said is instrumental in the recovery process.

"Hospitals never look from the perspective of the patients, they are focused on the people who work there, which of course makes sense – but patients need to be cured," she said.

"Mobility is really important in bringing people back to full health, and in touch with nature."

Should a patient take a walk around the hospital, nurses can track the drip through a connected system that alerts them should there be a problem with the pump.

Rees envisages the IV-Walk system being used by those receiving medicines such as sodium chloride or antibiotics. She also hopes fluids could be changed by the patient themselves, providing them with even more independence.

Rees' IV-Walk project is currently on show at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show, which takes place until 29 October as part of this year's Dutch Design Week.

Other graduate projects on show include Mirjam de Bruijn's sustainable cleaning products and Billie van Katwijk's leathery material made from discarded cow stomachs.