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The Sound of Closure

Los Angeles: return to manufacturer

Having successfully played dodgeball with H1N1 these past few months and with a long bout of infection-friendly travel coming up managed to finally get a proper flu shot at a local pharmacy – the vaccination room where the shot was administered included a couple of appreciable experience-design elements.

The first was the cli-click sound that the needle makes when the shot has been administered and the needle retracts into into the needle cylinder. The obvious benefits of a retractable syringe are that there are less needle related injuries (and consequent psychological worries of catching a serious infection from the patient); and also that the needle cannot be reused. The person administering warned this patient that the sound signifies the completion of the process, rather than the syringe breaking – though I suspect over time the sound will become part of the vocabulary experience but it raises the question: what is the sound of a vaccination that has been successfully administered?

Those of you who like to trace ideas back to their (legal) source – the retractable syringe has been around for a while the earliest USPTO mention is 1987 – with 17 US filings since then.

The second is Sharps disposal by mail system where the needle is dropped into a container (pictured above), which when full can be mailed back to Sharps for disposal. Of course disposal doesn’t mean recycle – but in the spirit of the future perfect what elements of this commercially successful service design offering translates to other cradle to cradle inspired products and services?