Photograph by Michael Cevoli
That Was Easy
Who says a jack of all trades can’t be a master of one? Aidan Petrie, chief innovation officer at Ximedica, might make the people who coined that phrase rethink it. Petrie stumbled into industrial design while studying at RISD. A professor recommended the field to him based on his varied academic interests, which encompassed everything from physics to art, and he hasn’t looked back since. Thirty years ago Petrie and fellow designer Steve Lane established a general industrial design firm where they worked on products like Staples’ Easy Button, Swiss Army knives and toothbrushes. The company, since rebranded as Ximedica, now focuses solely on medical products, which are influenced by changing technologies, increased patient interest and FDA standards. Critical to Petrie is that “form follows function,” and for users to notice how well products work. “If granny has to use something and her eyesight is going, then you have to design the product in a way that’s appropriate for her needs,” he says. He looks to design tools that are functional, easy to use and comfortable for their user, making them more effective than the daily apple at keeping the doctor away. And in the medical industry, where technology can make a world of a difference, Petrie has developed an oeuvre of products that includes drug compliance aids and wearable wellness technology that can prevent people from getting sick in the first place. And what’s one of Petrie’s and Ximedica’s latest products? A tool no bigger than a bandage that can run a person’s muscles for them.