March 17, 2014

There Is Still No Better Breast Pump

Speaking of It Doesn't Get Better, the Times asks, "Shouldn't the Breast Pump Be as Elegant as an iPhone and as Quiet as a Prius by Now?"

Yeah, no. Considering how recent the iPhone is, and how rare design talent that can actually produce an iPhone is, it's totally unsurprising that something as niche as a breast pump is not a hotbed of innovation. Also, and yes, it's their point, it's a chick thing. And guys only even become aware of the Breast Pump Problem when they're tasked with cleaning and repacking it for the first time. WHICH YOU TOTALLY SHOULD BE DOING, BTW, GET WITH THE PROGRAM.

Plus, you could argue that it's not a Prius anyway, which should inspire the design breakthrough, but the Tesla. Except that Teslas cost a hundred thousand dollars. And so the Tesla of breast pumps would be awesome, but too expensive for all but the top 1% of breast milk producers. So that won't work.

In conclusion, then, we'll see nationwide paid parental leave legislation enacted before we see iPhone-level breast pump innovation. Sorry.

Shouldn't the Breast Pump Be as Elegant as an iPhone and as Quiet as a Prius by Now? [nyt]


what? no Uma?

Ha. Gotta love when Times writers venture into fields where they just don't belong. This article is going to get a lot of page views because it's about breast pumps and design and working moms and all the things we value in 2014 but that doesn't mean it's not stupid.

Where to begin?

Clear parts? I guess you could go either way and maybe the author's friends doesn't want to see her nipples but I can imagine others like to know that everything's properly aligned.

Quiet like a Prius? Well this sounds reasonable. But the Prius has a number of pumps in it and many of them are probably louder than a breast pump. But they're located outside the cabin with plenty of sound insulation in between. Stick your head under the hood of a Prius and have someone activate the window washer fluid spray. It will probably sound a lot like a breast pump. Maybe she can apply this design to the breast pump. Get some extra long tubing and stand in the closet with the door closed while you're pumping.

Elegant like an iPhone? An iPhone is mostly software with some amazing processing power and some cool sensors. But it doesn't really do anything in the physical world. As cool as it is, it will never be able to move a couple ounces of anything from point A to point B.

There are no doubt designers working on making a breast pump that will be more appealing to consumers...especially now that there's government funding involved. But forgive me if I think of all the world's design problems that should be solved before enabling the friend who wants to pump undetected while on conference calls.

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