Rapid Rhythm | Handheld ECG Device

Diagnosing atrial fibrillation in a heartbeat

Half a million people in the UK live with atrial fibrillation (AF) and many don’t know it.

Together with biotech start-up Rapid Rhythm, we developed an intuitive medical device to improve the experience of taking ECG heart readings used to identify AF.

Through user-insights, we found that existing ECG devices were complicated to use, time-consuming and often resulting in costly false readings. The traditional process of getting an ECG could unnerve patients and come across as intimidating.

Our product designers had to produce a concept for a device that was less invasive, easy to use and less intimidating.

Product Design & Development Services Product Design Agency


We conducted research into what ECG devices were currently on the market. Time-consuming, false readings and complicated functionality seemed to be the trend.

Traditional ECG’s:

    - Tangled leads
    - Limited storage facilities
    - Small working environments
    - Nurse/clinical lead process
    - Required onsite visits

Our research findings influenced the design process and ensured decisions with stakeholders were data-driven rather than subjective. This ensured the project progressed in response to all stakeholder requirements and elevated the product outcome.


With this being a medical device, it wasn’t just the visual appearance that needed to be well thought out. Everything had to be designed with the functionality of an ECG at the forefront, for example, ensuring the pressure pads that needed to be in contact with the skin and certain areas of the body were correctly positioned and these could be released when removing the product without pulling on the patient from the remaining self-adhesive pads.

Test rigs were created to test the best performing mechanisms that could be used to easily release the pads, that remained on the patient, from the handheld device.

We worked closely with electronics engineers throughout the project.

The first concept sketches were produced alongside aesthetic drawings. These sketches were quickly turned into schematic test rigs and SLS ergonomic prototype models. These prototypes allowed us to test the feel & size of the device.

For the functionality of the Rapid Rhythm device, we used SLA 3D printing to create a concept test rig of the electrodes.

Production drawings and SolidWorks dock design development to produce the casing of the device took place and assembly after this.


Once we developed the prototype and rigs, vigorous testing was carried out on the ergonomics of the device as well as its functionality. We had to ensure that it worked accurately as an ECG device, following medical guidelines and standards. The device needed to be easy to use and eliminate the existing setbacks of traditional ECG devices.


The result was a highly accurate, single handheld device, that needs little training and removes the potential of false readings, by reducing the time and complexity of ECGs we improved the user experience.

Concept Sketches/Production Drawings
Multiple sketches and production drawings were produced with accurate dimensions of how big the finished product should be. Sketches for aesthetic visualisation were made separately to the production drawings so no stone was left unturned.

Test Rigs & Prototypes
Before we produced prototypes, the test rigs were made so we could map out the correct sizing, spacing and shape of the Rapid Rhythm ECG device before we committed to developing a prototype.

Once the test rig was tested, a 3D printed prototype was developed, assembled and tested.