Many medical products have resulted from an "invention" process by clinical and other creative individuals. With scientific advances not only in medical knowledge but also in engineering technology, it is now possible to use advanced simulation, fabrication and testing techniques to evolve prototypes that at one time would have had to follow a highly empirical path. This laboratory has applied such methodology in a number of areas of medical product design. One major project area has been a passive magnetic bearing/rotary blood pump technology which is readily scalable to multiple clinical needs, simplifying manufacturing and regulatory issues. The design is also smaller, simpler, more durable and at least equal in pumping performance to competitive products. The potential for finally penetrating the predicted large clinical need is high. A second medical design project addresses prosthetic knees for transfemoral amputees. The research literature shows that none of the available knee prostheses restore normal gait, and it has also been demonstrated that the abnormal gait patterns result in additional spinal and arthritis issues for these already compromised patients. The overall goals of this project are two-fold. We will develop hardware and software concepts which we expect will make a large step forward in patient rehabilitation and performance. As fundamentally, we wish to demonstrate a new paradigm for knee prosthesis development programs, using a systematic design and development methodology to integrate a full understanding of the knee prosthesis design issues and opportunities, state-of-the-art musculoskeletal and hydro-mechanical system computational modeling and newly advanced hydraulic, power and control technologies to produce a new knee prosthesis that makes a quantum leap in performance within the existing size and weight envelope.
Delivery of advanced medical care to patients requires that scientific research be translated into clinically applicable products. Historic medical device design has frequently relied on invention and empirical methods. This laboratory uses modern engineering tools to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and patient-useable products. One thrust addresses a family of blood pumps which relieve the limitations of current products. Another develops the prototype of an energetic knee prosthesis which can provide better patient rehabilitation.