Designing an Adrenaline Auto-Injector: The Perception of Shape as an Affordance of Use


Adrenaline auto-injectors are considered an effective and immediate emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions that may result in potentially fatal anaphylaxis if not treated on time. These auto-injectors are designed to be self-administered intramuscularly by the patient or the carer, who are generally instructed on how to apply them; however, studies indicate that these are often used incorrectly, causing accidental injuries and failed administration of the dose. A significant number of such failed deliveries can be attributed to the shape of the injecting device which according to conducted surveys is un-intuitive, especially in situations of stress and emergency, and when the person administering has no previous knowledge or experience of using the device. In conjunction, this paper argues that the shape of the auto- injector is crucial towards communicating how to use the device correctly and describes a research project that aims to develop an intuitive, accessible, and user-friendly auto-injector that can be used without previous training, and wherein the shape can promote natural associations towards ensuring correct usage. The paper also discusses key design considerations, such as common usage errors, and the patients’ perceptions of, and relation with, auto-injectors. It emphasizes how by focusing on use-case affordances, the device can foment a functional rather than arbitrary relation with the user, restricting the way the device can be used and, thus, allowing it to be properly administered in emergency situations.

Author Information
Clara Serrano, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Eduardo Noronha, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Ivo Fonseca, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Fábio Fernandes, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Alice Coimbra, Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João, Portugal

Paper Information
Conference: ECADE2022
Stream: Design for Society

This paper is part of the ECADE2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Serrano C., Noronha E., Fonseca I., Fernandes F., & Coimbra A. (2022) Designing an Adrenaline Auto-Injector: The Perception of Shape as an Affordance of Use ISSN: 2758-0989 – The European Conference on Arts, Design & Education 2022 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon