Innovation + Design for Healthcare and the Medical Humanities

Tactile Data Visualization for
chronic disease and public health data.

UX Research, 3D Modeling, Consultancy

Tactile Data Visualization

Development of technologies and methodologies for translating individual and public health data for accessible health education and communication.


Health literacy and numeracy are critical to health management yet only 12% of the United States population has high health literacy according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Creating an engaging and accessible way to translate what can be up to thousands of data points for chronic disease likes diabetes and public health information is a major barrier to health education and communication. One primary example is the type of technologies used every day in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, which has hundreds of readings that must be interpreted for health management. 

UX Researcher, 3D Modeling, Facilitation, Consultancy

Over 3 years MedSculp, led by Justus Harris, has researched and prototyped new 3D printed and screen-based 3D models to succinctly summarize and express health data through form, shape, color, and texture combined with traditional design and infographic materials.  


MedSculp's tactile data visualizations of diabetes data from individuals using wearable glucose monitors and insulin pumps as well as public health data from Chicago have been featured by Stanford Medicine X, The Kennedy Center, Healthline, American Diabetes Association, and Livongo Health among other healthcare institutions.  

Public Health Data Visualizations have been featured at the Chicago Public Library and the three-month residency MedSculp helped created has turned into a new Maker Lab program at the Chicago Public LibraryHealth Data Sculptures are still under development and currently can combine Fitbit and continuous glucose monitor data in an online application. 

health variables visualized
data points per 1 hand-held visualization
tactile design iterations

Research Process

Expert and Patient Interviews

50+ interviews with a range of endocrinologists, epidemiologists, researchers, pediatric patients, adult patients, insurers, investors, lawyers, and technologists to understand the protocols and specific education and data visualization needs in clinical, at-home settings, and public health communication. 

  MedSculp    Diabetes Data Visualization

Users with Type 1 Diabetes reviewing their data with MedSculp's tactile data visualizations of their insulin pump and glucose monitor data. 

Diabetes Data Visualizations

Before - Traditional views of Diabetes Data

There can be as many as 300+ data points per day that end up looking like these graphs, that people with diabetes that are critical to be interpreted for health management that come from devices like the Dexcom, Abbott, and Medtronic CGMs. These numbers need to be interpreted by people living with diabetes to understand if their treatment regimen is working or needs to be adjusted, which is difficult to do using only a blood test (HbA1c test) that shows an average blood sugar from the last three months.

  MedSculp    Diabetes Data Visualization

After - MedSculp Tactile Data Visualization

MedSculp Tactile Data Visualizations highlight and summarize the most significant health impacts from each day's data through form shape and color that can be understood in multiple timescales at a glance. 

  MedSculp    Diabetes Data Visualization
  MedSculp    Diabetes Data Visualization

Screened-based version of diabetes data visualizations that can be 3D-printed or viewed online.

Reflecting Forward

After working with Nixon Peabody law f and filing for a patent, I have learned that even more user research is needed before delving into IP and legal protections for products. 

MedSculp is now focused on virtual and augmented experiences that can be accessed more easily without the need for production by the user or a clinician.  3D printed models are being considered for educational purposes at clinics, representing health milestones, and for pediatric and visually impaired populations. 

Please see Kennedy Center Fellowship project, Time Untold for an example of Augmented Reality showing health data in realtime.