Exploded view of the inner-workings of the Eclipse System.
For many women with Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL), the loss of bowel control becomes the controlling force in their lives.
Fearing an embarrassing accident, many choose to stay close to home and miss out on the activities they love. Sometimes lifestyle changes can help. If not, physicians have traditionally recommended invasive treatments that involve injections, surgery or implants.
Recognizing an unmet need, a San Francisco Bay Area-based startup called Pelvalon developed a non-surgical solution that provides immediate relief. Eclipse is the first vaginal insert designed to provide bowel control. A balloon insert is placed in the same location as a tampon and can be removed at any time. The balloon is designed to control the rectum and prevent stool from passing unexpectedly. It’s inflated and deflated with a discreet, detachable pump, which allows the user to control the timing of her bowel movements.
The company was focusing on the vaginal insert portion of the design, working on next-generation versions with Swope Design Solutions, a firm that shared office space with Delve in San Francisco. They came to us with a detachable pump prototype made from “off the shelf” components, looking for assistance with usability, industrial design and the engineering design necessary for manufacture.
Our first task was to truly understand the users and set the design parameters. Pelvalon had an office where physicians were fitting women with inserts to test functionality and comfort. Our research and design team interviewed participants, and even tried Eclipse themselves to gain empathy.
They concluded that the pump needed to convey a balance of friendliness and comfort with enough medical cues to make it feel like a real solution. Because of the stigma attached to ABL, the pump also needed to be small, discreet and innocuous. Realizing that many women would probably keep it in their purses or their medicine cabinet, the team created a brand language and form that’s closer to what you might see at the cosmetics counter.
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