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Intellectual Ventures Passive Vaccine Storage Device

Client: Intellectual Ventures Laboratory

Intellectual Ventures Laboratory (IVL) discovers, invents, and develops advanced technology, bridging the gap between early stage ideas and proof of concept demonstrations. Their Global Good team partnered with Tactile to further develop a more effective means of delivering vaccination services to outlying communities in developing countries.

A thermos container system (nicknamed Cold Chain) is capable of storing and maintaining vaccines for transport at proper temperatures for as long as a month. Underdeveloped regions with poor roads and no electrical grids will benefit greatly from this technology. Our role was to focus on usability issues that would advance design development and increase adoption in the field.

Working with patented science, engineering prototypes, and a wealth of proposed device and user experience ideas, a versatile team of engineers, designers, and researchers began work on several possible architectures for Cold Chain. During this process, Tactile had to factor in cost, size, weight, durability, access, portability, materials, security, and vaccine viability.

Transport and logistics of the vessel and its sensitive contents were major considerations. The Cold Chain device was designed to endure trials of transport—often by uncertain means—to major healthcare clinics, small town healthcare providers, and remote villages. The vaccines could be replenished, handled, maintained, and administered anywhere along the route. The Tactile team went to Mozambique and Zambia to discover real user needs, define infrastructure obstacles and opportunities, assess design decisions, and qualify engineering assumptions.

The functionality of the Cold Chain vessel will undergo further evolution in the lab, and in the field, before it ultimately fulfills its mission to effectively deliver lifesaving vaccines to those who need them most. Tactile is proud to have contributed to the development of this important innovation.


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