TMRW Life Sciences

is a medical device development company that created the world’s first automated platform for managing frozen eggs and embryos in IVF.

I worked as an industrial designer for the cryostorage project and developed designs for many design components. This included everything from sample storage tubes, to redesigning the workflow for transporting liquid nitrogen and transferring stored samples into the cryo tank.

I worked on a team with senior designers, a senior engineer, human factors researchers, and client stakeholders including an embryologist.

The challenge

TMRW's main product is the digital storage and management of samples as the samples are being stored cryogenically. There are two places where this linking takes place: the lab bench and the cryostorage platform. At the lab bench, sample devices are linked to Beacons, which are transported to the Cryostorage platform, where Beacons are then linked to cassettes before being stored.

Our task was to create products and workflows that would make the technological link between sample and storage device seamless to prevent sample misplacement.

cryostorage platform & Worktop

Custom platform design

Our team spent a significant amount of time analyzing the interactions at the cryostorage tank. The client's original product was simply a tank, the cassette elevator, and a small tray area for prepping samples. After research and analysis, and consultation with the user group, embryologists, we concluded that the casette elevator was too high for most users to comfortably reach while still safely handling the frozen cassettes.

We determined that the best solution would be to create a custom platform and table top with a liquid nitrogen bath built directly into the table. This would eliminate the need to hold the casette in the air. Instead, the cassette could be dragged across the work top and lowered into the liquid nitrogen bath. The platform and work top also created a safe work area for transferring samples from the transporter into the cassette, as a built in RFID scanner tracked their location.

I created the rendering below in Solidworks/Keyshot.

Worktop design

I developed concepts for iconography on the work top. The icons and track indicators would help users understand where to bring the cassette once it is ejected from the storage device, and would guide them towards the cassette's liquid nitrogen bath. It is important for users to be able to distinguish the two because the left bath contains liquid nitrogen so that the stored samples remain frozen, and the right does not because the transporter has liquid nitrogen inside it already.

I also developed ideas for the removeable baths and bath handles including designing markings to indicate refill levels for the liquid nitrogen so that it would not overflow once the cassette is inserted into the bath. I worked with an engineer to create these designs and to test their viability.

I created the renderings below in Solidworks/Keyshot.

Clip shows cassette being removed from storage using the handle accessory. Taken from Bloomberg Technology Youtube interview. Link:


The Beacon is TMRW's custom transport and storage capsules for stored samples. The previous design was a rounded tube with a small fluted cap. We discovered that users could not easily open the cap after they came out of cryostorage because the lids were frozen in place, and the circular tube design lacked grip to unscrew the lid. We came up with the below designs to address this and other problems with the original design.

Beacon CMF and lid concepts development

We made several improvements to the original tube design including:

  • We designed the Beacons to be a rounded square so that users could grip the tubes more easily using a cane tool or their hands, but the beacons would still fit inside the original cassette design.
  • Designed the cap to be 1/4 turn so that there is minimum unscrewing needed.
  • Designed a looped top to provide finger or tweezer grip on the lid to allow beacons to be removed more easily from the tightly packed cassette.
  • We selected a dark blue for the lid, and added a dark ring to the tube opening to provide a high visual contrast in the liquid nitrogen bath.

I created the renderings below in Solidworks/Keyshot.

Final Beacon industrial design

Clip shows Beacon being transferred to a storage cassette. Taken from the TMRW Website. Link:


The transporter is used to take Beacons from the lab bench to the cryostorage device, or from the device to a patient room. We had to consider a few things while generating ideas: users would be wearing gloves while opening/closing the transporter, users would have to carry it for long distances, and that the transporter had to hold a small amount of liquid nitrogen without opening or spilling accidentally.

Transporter design concepts

My initial design concept was to combine the handle with the lid so that it could be easily opened from the front or side using two hands. We tested this design by printing a 3D model and showing it to users during a usability study. We discovered that the lid would be too heavy and could potentially make the transporter too unbalanced. However, the client really loved the aesthetics and simplicity of this concept, and users enjoyed the ease-of-use of the front button.

I created the renderings below in Solidworks/Keyshot.

Final transport design

I contributed to finalizing the transporter design by helping to conceptualize some of the feedback from the usability study, and balance user needs with manufacturing capabilities. We ended up including a movable handle, a clear viewing window, more beacon holders, and a removable inner basket into the design.


Cassette handle, Cane, and Prep tray/Beacon scanner

We were also tasked with designing several custom accessories.

The first is a handle designed to hook into the cassette so that it can be dragged out of the cryostorage device. I contributed by ideating potential ideas, and creating prototypes as well as working on the industrial design intent CAD in Solidworks.

The second is a device called a "cane" which is made of bent aluminum and is used to plunge the Beacon into a liquid nitrogen bath. I created several bent plastic models of this concept, as well as 3D printed versions, in order to test concepts. The simplest design ended up being the best, this cane is similar to other cane designs used by embryologists, however, this one is square and has a wider foot for stability.

The third was a design concept for a tray that is also an RFID scanner. Using this device, embryologists can pair cryodevices with Beacons before storage.  I created the rendering below in Keyshot.

Clip shows Beacon being registered using the tray accessory. Taken from the TMRW Website. Link:

Design Research & development

Prototyping, Co-creation Workshops, & Usability Study

One of the first activities in this project was a co-creation workshop. We worked with client stakeholders, human factors team members, and embryologists to analyze current cryostorage workflows and our clients existing workflow. We then created a workflow map (below) which informed initial designs and prototypes. We used the below prototypes in an early usability study.

Workflow map

Early in the project, we determined that a detailed workflow map was needed to follow the chain of custody of the samples, especially because users would transport the sample to and from multiple locations. It is essential for the sample to remain digitally linked to the patient's name, even though it is changing hands and locations. We discovered several risks and opportunities for improvement through this map. It was my role to synthesize our primary and secondary research into this map, to facilitate client and internal input into the content, and to create the visual design for the map.  

Visual brand language

I also contributed to the visual design language, branding concepts, and maintaining brand consistency between their existing and new products.