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CORTEX Biophysics

Cortex C21 - Progressive design for mobile breath analysis

Cortex C21 - Progressive design for mobile breath analysis

"Just take a breath" - I'm sure everyone has heard this phrase at some point in their lives, but how many people actually know what exactly they are exhaling? With the help of spiroergometry, the examination of respiratory gases, it is possible to find out just that. The technique is used to examine a person's endurance and performance based on breathing gases, and is therefore essential for medical examinations in the fields of pneumology and cardiology. But also in the fields of science, space travel, occupational safety or competitive sports, spiroergometric measurements can provide valuable insights into the stress on the human body under a wide range of environmental influences.


  • Objective: Development of a mobile breathing gas analysis system.
  • Focus: Progressive design, adaptability to different application situations.
  • Responsibilities at WILDDESIGN:
    • Design vision and product concept.
    • Detailed design and prototyping.
    • Conception and design of the graphical user interface.


  • Inspired by a 2D sketch that shaped the dynamic design approach of the Cortex C21.
  • Implementation of the design vision in a functional 3D product through iterative development loops.
  • Continuous adaptation of the design to technical and regulatory requirements.
  • User-centered development of a carrying system that is versatile and easy to use.


  • Cortex C21, an innovative respiratory gas analysis system for a wide range of applications, from medical examinations to use in extreme environments.
  • Ergonomic design that can be worn both on the back and on the chest.
  • Intuitive graphical user interface that meets the requirements of different users.
  • Awards and feedback: positive feedback from experts and users, red dot Design Award 2024
GUI Cortex 21

The Leipzig-based company Cortex Biophysik GmbH is an innovative developer and manufacturer of respiratory gas analysis systems that are used worldwide. In collaboration with the Cortex development team, WILDDESIGN's designers created the new Cortex C21 spiroergometry device, which enables respiratory gas analyses in a wide variety of application situations. The versatility of the device presented the WILDDESIGN team with special challenges during the design process.

Product 2D sketch

A 2D sketch as a sparking idea for the design process

One of the most striking features of Cortex C21 is its progressive design, which makes the interaction and interaction of the trapezoidal surfaces and the black and white contrast particularly dynamic. This distinctive look of Cortex C21 was already shaped in the initial phase of the design process.

The initial spark for the innovative design of Cortex C21 can be traced back to a first idea sketch of the device, which so inspired the decision-making team at Cortex that it provided the guidepost for the entire further design process. However, the implementation of this initial concept also presented the WILDDESIGN team with challenges: On the one hand, because translating a 2D sketch into a 3D product is complex. On the other hand, because the design of a technical device runs from the outside to the inside, contrary to its technical development from the inside to the outside. Nevertheless, the striking design of the basic concept was successfully realized.

Breathing gas analyzer Cortex C21

Applicable from deep mine to ISS

Another fundamental challenge in the product design of Cortex C21 was the different operational situations of the device. The product had to be designed to be sealed against both dust and water and to function reliably at extreme heights and depths. The desired resistance of the device placed complex demands on its design, which were overcome through repeated testing of the product and productive collaboration with designer Thomas Garweg. This process resulted in a successful translation of the usability requirements into a fully thought-out product design. As a result, the Cortex C21 respiratory gas analyzer stands out not only for its innovative design, but also for its particular versatility and resistance in a variety of application situations.

Usability was also a decisive factor that significantly influenced the design process. It was particularly important here that the product be usable by people of different body sizes and shapes and be able to be worn both on the back and on the chest. For this reason, a great deal of attention was devoted to developing a suitable wearing system that would allow the device to be used in this way and that featured a particularly user-friendly snap-in function. This function allows the spiroergometry device to be securely fastened to the belt with a simple handle.

Product design spiroergometry device

Pulling together: The collaboration with Cortex

The successful realization of this challenging project was primarily supported by a cooperative and collegial collaboration with Cortex under project manager Dr. Andreas Günther. Cortex stood out as a company that is open to progressive design and willing to break new ground in medical design.

The joint team building of the WILLDESIGN team with Cortex was characterized by mutual trust, sense of purpose and collegiality. This positive atmosphere created the optimal conditions for a productive collaboration to make the vision of Cortex C21 a reality together. We look forward to continuing this motivating partnership with Cortex on further joint projects in the future.

"With our new generation of equipment, our goal was to set new standards in cardiopulmonary performance diagnostics and live up to our reputation as pioneers and trailblazers in spiroergometry. For me as an engineer, this goal was of course initially associated with the best measurement technology, high computing power or low power consumption. The fact that device design can also contribute so significantly to setting new standards was a new experience for me, which I owe to the always open, constructive and above all creative work of the colleagues at WILDDESIGN. I am already looking forward to the next joint projects."

Dr. Andreas Günther,
Head of Hardware Development / Authorized Signatory CORTEX Biophysik GmbH
Cortex C21 Breathing Gas Analysis System

What was the WILDDESIGN part?

  • Design vision
  • Product and design conception
  • Detail design and prototyping
  • Conception and design of the graphical user interface
  • Usability
  • user-centered product development
user-centered product development Cortex C21

"Our new CORTEX21 spiroergometry system replaces two very successful and important products. It was very important to us to make the innovative power and the technological leap that is contained in the new device directly visible and tangible for the customer.

In addition to the desired modern and stand-out look, the design also had to meet many technical and regulatory requirements.

The result, which the WILDDESIGN team achieved in many joint, constructive and always forward-looking discussions and even more working time, gives the "inner values" and innovations that have found their way into CORTEX21 an exterior that is as strong as it is attractive. Already now we could completely inspire even the most critical minds with the result."

Testimonial image

Markus Siepmann
Managing Director CORTEX Biophysik GmbH

Contact person WILDDESIGN

"The biggest success in the project was that we worked with the customer to form a development team that managed to translate the extremely diverse requirements into one product."

Your contact person for the project

Marc Ruta

Chief Technology Officer

+49 (0)209 702 642 00