Anesthesia nurses play a key role in the operating theatre. The anaesthesia machine, however, has grown so complex that many nurses do not use it to its full capability. In this high-pressure environment, nurses have no room to fail so are risk-adverse. This project explores the possibility for nurses to experiment and deepen their knowledge of how the anaesthesia machine affects the patient.


With Sandbox, part of tomorrows anaesthesia machine, nurses can see a prediction of the patient’s response to drug parameter adjustments before administering any changes. Through this system, the nurse can explore, fail and learn without risk of harming the patient.

Group project (2017, completed over 10 weeks) at the Umeå Institute of Design in collaboration with Getinge.

Team: Selvi Olgac, Minh-Huy Dang

With Sandbox, nurses can simulate drug adjustments and see an individual prediction of the patient’s response

How might we create a learning environment for exploration during the autopilot phase, without losing focus of the patient?

The perfect team

Sandbox works in collaboration with the nurse, listening to feedback and learning from actions

Ready to learn

Continually evolving, Sandbox adapts to future changes; no software updates required

Flexible future

Once the operation is underway, supervisors can leave trainee nurses to act independently, freeing expert time

Local control

Hospitals store anonymised patient data locally, removing reliance on third parties and enabling national and international cooperation

Sandbox: Patient Prediction in the OR


Early Research

Diving in the Deep End


Hospital visits


Surgery observations


Nurse engagements
Understanding anaesthesiologists’ work

Immersing ourselves into the lives of the anaesthesia nurse, we set out to understand how and why they work. Surgery observations allowed for us to see the workflow first-hand, in their context. We used ethnographic methods to explore the thoughts and feelings around their daily lives.

The role of the machine

Establishing the current role of the anaesthesia machine early was important to define how it could evolve in the future. As well as nurses walking us through several models, we observed them in use during operations to learn the real-world patterns.

Creating thick stories 

Mapping insights

Obligatory postit photo


What we learnt from our research

20/80 knowledge

Due to the complexity of the anaesthesia machines, and the lack of resources for continual training, nurses have limited knowledge of their functional potential.

Double checking

Nurses must continually monitor the patient, both through the data displayed on the screen interface and through visually checking the patient. The OR layout means they cannot monitor both the screen and the patient at the same time, potentially leading to information being missed.

Boring autopilot

Whilst the beginning and end of the operation are fast and high-pressure for the nurse, the timely middle section, dubbed the ‘autopilot phase’, is generally uneventful. Here the nurse may need to monitor the patient for more than 6 hours.


design sprints and concept development

Early concept ideation

Bringing lofi prototypes to users


User Testing