Although Hieu and Jullian had not yet finished their graduation research, for the study Industrial Design Engineering at the University of Twente, they were offered to work together with Luuk Oudshoorn (the hardware engineer at Nedap Healthcare) and Jan Hendrik (captain of the Luna team) to further develop Nedap Luna and get it to market. For the successful design duo this was an opportunity too good to refuse.
Designer Hieu Nguyen says: “The concept of the Nedap Luna emerged during the graduation research I did with Jullian Claus in 2017, under the guidance of Jan Hendrik Croockewit and Matthijs Langenberg. And until this day, they don’t regret it. “During our study we had set up a design studio together, so Nedap’s entrepreneurial culture suits us well,” says Jullian. “I still appreciate the freedom and responsibility that is given us from day one.”
Nedap Luna is a simple, electronic daily calendar that supports people with incipient dementia in their daily structure. The development of Nedap Luna, from concept to the version, meanwhile available on the market, has been an iterative process. Involving the target group was an important factor throughout the entire process. “To really make a difference for people, we had to understand their problems and needs.” says Hieu. “People with early stage dementia often have difficulty maintaining their daily routine.” And that’s what Nedap Luna supports. Nedap Luna focuses on people in the early stages of dementia, their families and healthcare professionals. During the development feedback from these stakeholders was collected and processed.
Each subsequent phase also requires a new kind of approach and expertise. As a result the Luna team has grown organically in recent years. To help realise the first pilot series Steyn Potze and Diederik van der Valk joined the team. In close cooperation with SMART, 80 Luna’s were produced last year. This first pilot series were put into use at six different care institutions.
“As people with dementia, lose control of their daily routine, we see that they are gradually becoming more and more dependent on their loved ones and professional caregivers,” says Jullian. “During the pilot we saw that Luna, because of her simplicity and user-friendliness, really can help. People with dementia become more self-reliant and are able to live longer in their own homes. Because Luna gives loved ones more peace, people with dementia and their careers have more quality time. It’s really awesome to make a difference this way”, he explains enthusiastically.
"Developing and eventually introducing an entirely new product to the market gives our team real energy"
The chance to have a real impact on people’s lives with the help of technology is a driving force for the Luna team. This has also been an important motivator for Rick Klein Koerkamp to join the team. Rick: “Last year I was still busy with account management for Ons®, Nedap Healthcare’s ECD. Luna was initially a side project. However, when I saw its potential and felt the joy of working on Luna, it became my main focus. I am very happy with that”. Hieu: “And so are we! In this scale-up phase, Rick’s expertise in the field of business development and his overall view is an important addition to the team”.
During development, things sometimes turn out differently than expected: components that are no longer readily available, a pandemic that makes contact with the vulnerable target group more difficult and the activation of care institutions. Just to name a few challenges. “Especially the combination of our various disciplines, were crucial in realising the launch,” Jullian explains. Rick adds: “We’ve really noticed how important it is to keep an open mind and keep communicating well.”
“Developing and eventually introducing an entirely new product to the market gives our team real energy,” says Hieu. “We have held on to our belief in the power of simplicity. It hasn’t become a complex care robot, and can therefore really be used by someone with dementia. What we are most proud of is that participants in the pilots no longer want to do without the Luna. That’s the impact we want to make with our technology.”