Medvender and Smart Knob

We initiated our Jam in Pittsburgh, September 2016, in collaboration with Catalyst Connection at Alpha Labgear. Our manufacturing partner was Cygnus Manufacturing Company (CMC) who creates a wide range of high-tech parts including machining, fabrication and assembly.

After the Jam, we worked with industrial design students from Carnegie Mellon University and a MBA student from the University of Pittsburgh to develop concepts from the Jam. In the initial CMC meeting, at their location, the top ideas from the Jam were reviewed and narrowed to two lead concepts, Medvender and Smart Knob- ideas that leverage relationships with current CMC clients.


This medical storage cabinet for nuclear pharmaceutical supplies was developed to utilize CMC's relationship with existing worldwide brands of nuclear pharmaceutical medical devices. The goal of this concept was to allow CMC to come to an existing customer with a new idea that might produce a new business opportunity. Instead of waiting for an order, in the usual contract manufacturer model, CMC can be seen as an innovative partner. 

Smart Knob is intended to be a stretch for CMC. It brings them out of their traditional B2B model and opens new business opportunities to the company. Because this was a new business area the industrial design and MBA students worked on this concept and developed a business plan.

The concept is a lighted door knob with potential in 3 different markets. One would be for hospitals to use in patient's rooms, particularly senior patients, to help them find a door in an unfamiliar location. The second use would be for children's bedrooms or adults with different schedules as a way-finder and night light.

The initial meeting was followed up with three in-person or teleconference meetings in order to review the concepts, as they matured, and make suggestions and changes. CMC has stated that they better understand design as a process and are interested in using more design resources in the future. They see the value of design.