Medical Devices

Engineered by Women for Women: Taking Fear out of Breast Screening

Study after study has shown that detecting breast cancer early can dramatically improve the chance of healing and survival. “Mammography has been proven to reduce mortality by 20 percent,” says Claire Goodliffe, marketing director for women’s health at GE Healthcare.

But another, less promising set of statistics haunts Goodliffe: As many as 40 percent of women in Europe and 30 percent in the U.S. skip screening. “They are afraid,” Goodliffe says. “They are afraid of the examination, they are afraid of the pain they may feel, and they are afraid of the results. They are afraid of getting cancer.”

That’s why Goodliffe and her colleagues at GE Healthcare’s campus in Buc, just outside of Paris, set out on a quest to design a mammography machine that wouldn’t scare people. “My design philosophy is to mix science with empathy,” says industrial designer Aurelie Boudier, who joined Goodliffe on the project. “We wanted to build a machine that changed the subjective perception of the mammogram and spoke to the woman to make her feel reassured.” Adds Goodliffe: “We wanted to humanize the examination.”

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/breast-screening/.

Photo Credit: Mammography machines became available in the 1960s, which allowed physicians to see breast tissue in greater detail.

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Learning by Heart: 3D Printing Could Help Save Lives One Day

As a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, Richard Trimlett knows a few things about the heart. He and his colleagues in the UK perform 35,000 heart surgeries every year on average.

Trimlett typically begins an open-heart surgery by stabilizing the heart with a suction device. But a minimally invasive procedure called keyhole heart surgery is even more delicate. “The heart is beating during the surgery, but we need to hold this very small area that we’re working on still,” Trimlett says. “We need tools with very small parts that we can pass in and out.”

Trimlett was looking for a new way of doing this when he ran into Alex Berry, the CEO of Sutrue, a design development center that specializes in developing medical instruments used in cardiology. “I asked Alex if he could make something that comes apart in pieces and passes through a very small incision that we could use to hold the heart stable,” Trimlett says. Ideally, he wanted a tool that was customizable by shape and size and also disposable.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/3d-printing-heart-device/.

Photo Credit: A 3D-printed device makes the minimally invasive yet delicate keyhole heart surgery process easier for surgeons.

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A Bionic Man: Hugh Herr Strides Forward on Next-Generation Robotic Legs

You’ll likely hear Hugh Herr before you see him.

The charismatic leader of MIT’s biomechatronics research group wears two next-generation prosthetic legs, each barely visible under the cuff of his gray slacks, which produce a faint percussive buzz with each footfall, like the sound of a tiny electric drill. The sound serves almost as a leitmotif—you hear it, faintly, as he ascends the stairs to his office in the glass-and-metal MIT Media Lab or as he ambles across the stage during a lecture.

Among futurists, Herr’s story is the stuff of legend. In the early 1980s, after he lost both legs below the knees to frostbite in a climbing accident in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, a doctor told him he would never climb again. Defiant, Herr used a local machine shop to hack together custom prostheses from rubber, metal, and wood. He designed a set of small feet that could find a foothold where his old pair would have slipped and a spiked set he could use to ascend the steepest walls of ice. He went on to become as confident a climber after his accident as he’d ever been before.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/hugh-herr-robotic-legs/.

Photo Credit: Hugh Herr. Courtesy MIT Media Lab.

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Virtual Reality in Health Care Makes Medical Reality Easier to Endure

Few people relish a trip to the doctor or hospital, and even fewer look forward to twilight years potentially spent in an assisted-care facility. But if next-generation technologies in health care could make those experiences better, getting a whiff of that unmistakable antiseptic hospital smell might not be so bad.

Training health-care practitioners using 3D imagery is highly effective, as medical-imaging pioneer Dr. Maki Sugimoto and others have found. After all, 3D models are more effective than pictures in a textbook, because students can move and explore the models as they would real cadavers—without the mess.

One company enabling 3D exploration is BioDigital, often called the Google Maps of the human body. “Doctors and patients alike are inundated with information,” says BioDigital CEO Frank Sculli. “With 3D, we can make the content more engaging, which leads to increased understanding and retention.” BioDigital’s cloud-based Human 3D model features more than 5,000 anatomical objects to explore, and more than 2,500 schools are using the platform to educate and train students.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/virtual-reality-in-health-care/.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Rendever

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Helper, Companion, Connector—How Health Care Robots Will Transform Elder Care

The world’s population is aging. In 2015, 901 million people were aged 60 and older. By 2050, that number is expected to more than double, reaching nearly 2.1 billion. According to the United Nations, this shift is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century.

To address the needs of this aging population—and a looming shortage of health care professionals—robots are making their way into homes, hospitals, and assisted-living facilities. The global market for elder-care technology products is expected to reach $10.3 billion by 2020, according to a report by Research and Markets. In fact, a quiet gold rush is emerging in the form of health care robots, particularly for the elderly who desire to “age in place” by remaining in their own homes. Whether industrial or humanoid, in homes or in assisted living facilities, these robots can serve as extensions of health care teams.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/health-care-robots/.
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Escobar Technologies’ Medical Simulator Is a Real Disrupter

The U.S. health-care system is as complicated and intricate as it has ever been. As the demand on the medical-care system weighs heavier with each passing year, the need for properly trained nurses, doctors, specialists, and health-care technicians continues to grow. Increasingly, these professionals are turning to medical simulators for that training.

A medical simulator can be as simple as a simulated body part, say an arm, or as complex as a simulated human patient—these educational devices are used in hospitals, universities, and medical simulation centers.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/medical-simulator/.

Photo Credit: The finished intravenous-arm simulator prototype. Courtesy Escobar Technologies.

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3 Medical-Device Industry Trends Changing Design and Manufacturing

Wild transformations are underway for a swath of industries. Automotive . . . consumer electronics . . . architecture . . . even fashion.

Those industries are increasingly impacted by the accelerating pace of change thanks to new advancements in robotics, materials science, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, software/hardware convergence, software democratization, big data, and cloud computing.

But according to Katy George, McKinsey’s expert in its operations practice and pharmaceutical and medical products, there’s another important industry that’s being shaped as well—medical devices.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/medical-device-industry-trends/.

Photo Credit: Micke Tong

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