The evolution of inhalation therapy.

Smart design to boost usability.

The challenge

Designing a compact and easy-to-manage nebulizer that would offer a noticeable advantage over the bulky devices available on the market and differentiate in terms of usability, design and costs.

The result

Kolibri is an exceptionally user-friendly & simple-to-use pocket-sized nebulizer. The accompanying app is fun to use and ensures the user inhales properly, allowing the medication to work effectively.

Kolibri - the starting point 

At the time we were asked by Munich-based start-up Pulmotree to design a small and user-friendly nebulizer, the often bulky devices on the market were rather cumbersome to use, clean and carry around. 


Our vision was to design a pocket-sized nebulizer as easy to handle as the common asthma sprays coming with an app that helps patients to manage everyday therapy with their various medications.

Setting up a design sprint to catapult us forward 

We decided to start the program with a design sprint to identify opportunities and reality-check our assumptions. This sprint enabled us to bring a wide variety of new ideas to the table, evaluate and decide on a direction very quickly.

User research

Since user-centricity is an integral part of our design process, it was obvious to reflect our concepts with real patients, their needs and habits. In this process we could also clarify and sharpen the product’s value proposition. 


How can the nebulizer fit into diverse lifestyles - from a family with a 5-year old cystic fibrosis patient to active asthma patients in their 30ies to a 70-year old suffering from COPD?

What does ease of use mean for them?  What do users expect from a companion app? 


These and many more questions had to be clarified in order to continue with the most promising directions but also to say goodbye to some of the early assumptions.

Speaks for itself when it comes to ease and efficiency.

Together with Pulmotree, we have created a product that has exceeded our expectations. Similar to the size of common asthma sprays, users can easily put the Kolibri nebulizer in their pocket and take it with them everywhere. This was a result of a clear focus on what matters most to patients and a targeted technology development.


In terms of design & handling, the Kolibri resembles a consumer product without losing the appearance of a pharmaceutical product.


Also, the product consists of four simple parts only: the lower part containing the aerosol generator, the mouthpiece, head and head housing. This allows an extraordinarily easy handling, cleaning and sterilization as patients are not required to disassemble the nebulizer into several parts before.


Such radical simplification took close collaboration between engineers and designers, a lot of testing and many design iterations - each one absolutely worthwhile considering the outcome: a true pioneer in regard to ease of use.


A 360-degree user experience

The Kolibri mesh-nebulizer is embedded in a digital eco-system, Pulmotree Connect, offering a 360-degree user experience.


In use, the Kolibri generates data about inhalation technique adherence and transfers these directly to the Pulmotree Connect Cloud or the Pulmotree Connect app for the smart phone. This way, patients get support & feedback with therapy plans, easy-to-understand instructions & real time inhalation technique and gain full insights in the treatment process.


The special feature of the app is the way it encourages the user to inhale properly, which increases inhalation effectiveness and sets the basis of the medication being effective. It is fun to use which not only helps children enormously but also motivates adults to make the most out of their medical treatment.


Monitoring devices such as spirometers also transfer relevant data to the cloud so that physicians can directly access to monitor and interpret the patient‘s therapy development.


Pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical studies, on the other hand, can better evaluate new products and reduce risks.

  • Design Sprint
  • User Journey
  • Design Concept
  • Industrial Design
  • User Experience Design
  • Digital Experience Prototyping
  • Physical Experience Prototyping
  • Usability Testing
  • Implementation Support
  • Quality Assurance
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