The story of LifeinaBox, a product that will change the lives of millions of people worldwide

Everything begins in France a couple of years ago. Uwe DIEGEL, managing director of a medical business in Paris is expecting the visit from New Zealand of his diabetic brother, Dr Olaf Diegel. The two men have already built strong international reputations in the field of industrial design and healthcare and quite often work together on new research projects

Olaf, diabetic since the age of 17, is professor of industrial design at the Auckland Technology University. His job forces him to travel a lot to take part in international congresses. He is a well-versed traveler and is used to travelling with his insulin and keeping it cool using iceboxes and cooler bags (insulin, like many other medications, is sensitive to heat and should be stored at a temperature between 2 and 8°C).

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Uwe and Olaf Diegel working on the original prototype of LifeinaBox

Olaf books himself into a small hotel near Auxerre in France. When he arrives at the hotel, he notices that there is no fridge in his hotel room (even though he had particularly insisted on this when making his booking). He needs a fridge to store his insulin. So he arranges with the hotel reception to keep his insulin in the fridge in the kitchen. Olaf does not speak French, coming from New Zealand. A few hours later, Olaf needs his insulin and goes down to reception to ask for it, only to discover that it was placed in the freezer by accident by someone in the kitchen. He is thus obliged to have the night pharmacy opened just to get some fresh insulin. Luckily, the problem is resolved easily enough.

A technology driven by a personal need

Back in Paris, Olaf meets his brother and they discuss the events. They decide to design a portable fridge that would use a Peltier Effect to create cold without gas or moving parts. On paper, the idea should in theory work, so they make a rough prototype using whatever they had available at the time (the battery was stolen from Uwe’s video camera).

The prototype actually works quite well, so the two brothers decide to do some research on the market and discover that about 5% of the global population is using medication that is fragile and that needs to be kept in the fridge at all times. These people are in fact "prisoners" of their medication.

They found the HealthWorks company (https://www.medactiv.com ) which has become over the past 10 years the worldwide leader in medication transport using softbags and gel packs.