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Ion Proton™

Winner - Spark!

Competition: Spark:Product
Designer: Mr. Lance Hussey - Principal/Creative Driector
Design Type: DNA Sequencing
Company / Organization / School: RKS
Website: www.rksdesign.com

DNA sequencing is one of the most intriguing areas of scientific discovery, holding promise to unlock human, animal, and plant genomes, resulting in higher qualities of life for all. Unlocking the code of life held in our DNA will enable the medical community to deliver medical diagnoses and treatments specific to each patient, help agriculture improve crop yields to feed more people while preventing contamination, and open new sources of alternative energy. Sequencing the first human genome took 13 years and cost $3 billion, but the field has progressed rapidly since, delivering greater speed and shrinking costs. Ion Proton™ is the first benchtop next-generation sequencer to offer fast and affordable genome decoding. Powered by innovative semiconductor chip technology, it helps 2012 herald a new era in medical science research and diagnostics, with a design that is compact, simple, and aesthetically appropriate for the device’s pioneering work. Ion Proton™ is a game-changer, promising to democratize understanding of DNA by dramatically lowering upfront and operational costs over predecessors, as well as in terms of user experience. Lowering the sequencing of a person’s genome to just $1000 in a few hours will be an important catalyst for many profound social impacts. Designers sought to elevate the form, aesthetics and the user interaction to be aligned with the amazing functionality offered to researchers. They worked to deliver a simple, appropriate, and aesthetic solution for the diverse environments in which it would operate. Researchers began the process by observing and interviewing numerous scientists and stakeholders, from senior scientists to lab managers to grad students, to gain a holistic understanding of the processes, as well as user’s needs and aspirations. Insights revealed lab environments were surprisingly cluttered, and users valued an enclosed and harmonizing aesthetic that departed from the industrial look of competitors. Beyond reliability and accuracy, users revealed they wanted greater inspiration in their daily routines and a more inviting and playful aesthetic. They also wanted a discovery partner that was easy to operate, monitor and clean. An innovative improvement over the competition in the laboratory, Ion Proton’s refined and simple form enables users at every level to rapidly navigate the sequencing process. Designers incorporated a touch-screen interface, and developed doors that provide quick access to reagents and the semiconductor chip technology. Reagents are conveniently located for quick access behind the lower front door that helps provide a more harmonizing and enclosed aesthetic. The streamlined front panel and interface is flat and chemical & scratch resistant, making cleaning easy and intuitive. LED indicators provide at-a-glance confirmation of sequencing status from across the room, minimizing user interactions for greater efficiency. The angled front surface allows users to easily access at various angles and facilitates use in a rack-mounted configuration. Ion Proton™ presence in the cluttered and busy laboratory environment commands attention and interest, and is eminently approachable. The design language invites and excites the imagination with its refined simplicity and speaks of the future.