BK Ultrasound

Portable Ultrasound Device

User Research, Interaction Design, Industrial Design, Digital-Physical Design, Technology-Based Innovation

BK Ultrasound needed to bundle its game-changing technology into an appealing, usable device.

Sonic Window’s immediate appeal is best summed up by a MedGadget reporter who compared it to “a remote control crossed with an iPod.”

Bresslergroup helped BK Ultrasound figure out how to integrate its complex and novel technology into an irresistible device.

Out of an estimated 300 to 500 million IV placements per year in the U.S using traditional techniques of sight and palpitation, one in three attempts in adults – and one in two in pediatrics – result in failure. 

BK Ultrasound, part of Analogic Corporation, a recognized leader for advanced imaging technologies, came to Bresslergroup with the ultrasound technology to overturn these painful stats. It gives users a real-time view of tissue layers up to three centimeters beneath the skin. And unlike with competing products that need to be tethered, the technology allows for a rechargeable battery – and true portability.

We took these remarkable capabilities and figured out how to fold them into the award-winning Sonic Window.

Improved technology on its own isn’t enough to convince busy healthcare providers with established routines to embrace a new and unfamiliar tool. For the product to succeed, it needs to work better than whatever they’re already using, and people need to immediately understand how to use it.

To investigate how best to design the device to fit into and enhance users’ lives, Bresslergroup conducted three rounds of user research.

Focus groups with experienced nurses and EMTs in three different hospital settings yielded feedback on data management, experience, and ease of use.

Low-fidelity foam mockups were later tested with end users and experts to determine the ease of maneuverability with one hand while injecting a needle with the other. Two higher-fidelity, interactive prototypes were subjected to qualitative testing with 10 participants to reveal which industrial design configurations worked best.

Interaction and industrial designers worked in parallel to translate these research findings into device refinements.

The resulting product is so easy to operate, it has developed a secondary use as a training device and is even meeting an increasing need for ultrasound equipment among clinicians from non-radiology backgrounds.


Since its launch, Sonic Window has invited comparisons to other well-loved products that make life easier — including magic wands, point-and-shoot cameras, remote controls, and iPods. It took home a Gold in the Medical Equipment & Devices category of Appliance Design’s 2015 Excellence in Design competition and was selected as a Finalist in the Industrial Designers Society of America’s (IDSA’s) 2015 IDEA competition.

In 2016, BK Ultrasound’s Sonic Window won a Gold Medical Design Excellence Award (MDEA) in that competition’s Radiological and Electromechanical Devices category.

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