MEDTRONIC SURGICAL INNOVATIONS & DESIGN CENTER COLORADO
Developing the physical blueprint for a surgical device, from initial design research and iterative prototyping, to manufacture and assembly, with the goal of improving the user experience for surgeons and enabling a quicker recovery for patients.
As part of the graduate design program at CU Boulder, our team of four was hired by Medtronic Surgical Innovations to develop and test a new surgical device to improve the user experience for surgeons conducting a specific operation and enable a quicker recovery for patients undergoing the operation.
Note: Because this project is proprietary (patent pending), limited details about the specific surgical setting and the product itself can be shared.
Synthesizing and interpreting ideas of self and team members (able to improve clarity and effectiveness of discussions through quick sketching and drawing skills)
Contributions to CAD models
Design for manufacture and assembly
Prototype manufacture and assembly (3D printer, machine shop)
Ownership of development of test plan and experimental set-up
Experimental trials, analysis, and write-up
market and competitive analysis
drawing and sketching
design of experiments
technical and informal writing
UNDERSTAND CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES
At the outset of our project, our team met with the Product Development team at Medtronic to gain an in-depth understanding of the objectives and challenges they foresee in tackling this project. Throughout the year, we met with a liason/mentor from this team.
INITIAL DESIGN RESEARCH
The team needed to thoroughly understand the design goal by observing the surgical setting and exploring the current solutions. How do surgeons use the current tool? What are the end goals of the user? What challenges does this surgical setting present? What is the form and function of tools in the same market space?
Through individual and group brainstorming, discussing and sketching, we defined a number of configurations and mechanical methods that had potential to increase the intuitive nature of the surgeon-tool interface and increase the efficiency of the process.
design of experimental set-up
CRAFT LOW-FIDELITY PHYSICAL PROTOTYPES
We translated these ideas into prototypes made of cardboard, plastic, PVC, wood, and whatever else we had on hand so that we could test the ergonomic and mechanical concepts for a low time and effort cost.
CAD models and 3D printing
PROTOTYPE USING COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN AND 3D PRINTING
A general system architecture was determined based on the most effective solutions found in early prototyping. The team refined this into a more polished interactive CAD model. Principles of design for manufacturing and assembly were used throughout the process to lower cost down the road and ensure it could be produced using standard machining methods.
design of experiment and set-up
An experimental set-up was developed to enable usability testing and functional testing of the tool. This included mimicking the surgical setting, human tissue (yuck), the precise angle of the device, and other working aspects of the system.
CAD models and 3D printing
refining experimental setup
ITERATIVE TESTING CYCLE
We fabricated and assembled our device, tested it in our "surgical setting," then made adjustments to the CAD model and the prototype to improve it. Then we did it again. And again.
presentation to stakeholders
A final prototype was machined, assembled, and handed back to Medtronic, along with our designs, analysis, and recommendations for further improvements.
Functional prototype of a novel, ergonomic device able to be manufactured and assembled using standard processes. Presentation to stakeholders.
Thanks to our sponsors at Medtronic, the Design Center Colorado, and teammates Chip Bollendonk, Scott Oubre, and Katie Thompson for their creative collaboration on this project.