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Slideshow: MIT Engineering Students Design Wish-List Devices for Physicians
3/5/2013

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A kidney cooler, developed in the 2011 Precision Machine Design class, can be used to cool a kidney with ice slush during minimally invasive partial nephrectomies. This enables longer working times during operations.   (Source: Nevan C. Hanumara, MIT)
A kidney cooler, developed in the 2011 Precision Machine Design class, can be used to cool a kidney with ice slush during minimally invasive partial nephrectomies. This enables longer working times during operations.
(Source: Nevan C. Hanumara, MIT)

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Elizabeth M
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Blogger
The future of medical devices
Elizabeth M   3/5/2013 6:32:16 AM
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I found this story really interesting to cover, and think this model should be replicated and promoted so more of these devices make it to the commercial market. What better than to hear directly from physicians about what they need to do their job, and get some of the best and brightest minds to develop them in collaboration? This could help get some of the most useful tools into the medical field as efficiently as possible.

CLMcDade
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Gold
great article
CLMcDade   3/5/2013 10:20:36 AM
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Hi Elizabeth,

I'm glad you covered this design program in your article.  This need-driven project approach as a class structure teaches students so much more about real-world experiences that await them post-university than the traditional classroom approach can. 

And while there are similar programs at other universities, these programs as a whole are in the minority when it comes to the teaching of engineering and design.

 

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: great article
Cabe Atwell   3/5/2013 3:36:40 PM
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Yikes! Those medical "gun shaped" instruments are scary. Though, I love seeing medical advancement. Not enough of it these days.

C

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: great article
Elizabeth M   3/6/2013 4:54:15 AM
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Thank you, CLMcDade. I completely agree with you. I think this is the way forward to get innovations out into the commercial market and best prepare new engineers for their professional careers as well. I really enjoyed covering this topic, and appreciate your interest in it.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: great article
Elizabeth M   3/6/2013 4:57:50 AM
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I know, Cabe, I can't imagine some of these things being used on patients...but hopefully they would be under anesthesia during the process! The thing is, I think there is more medical innovation than we think and I've written about some cool stuff lately...I think it's just difficult to get it out into the commercial market because of regulations and other hurdles to actual adoption. The minds and the technology are there, it's just seeing it make it to what has become a commoditized and politicized medical industry. And in my mind, it's one of the most important fields for innovation.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: great article
Cabe Atwell   3/6/2013 2:54:42 PM
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The medical research budget is much slimmer than the latest smartphone industry budget, as a whole. Throw Apple's $150 billion at the medical industry and see countless innovations.

C

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: great article
Dave Palmer   3/6/2013 4:11:32 PM
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@Cabe: Huh? R&D spending on healthcare is much larger than R&D spending on smartphones.  U.S. healthcare and life science companies spent $182 billion on R&D in 2012.  That's not even counting government spending on healthcare R&D.  That's just private sector spending.

Apple spent $3.4 billion on R&D in 2012, and smartphones are only part of that.  Add in Microsoft ($9.8 billion) and Google ($5.2 billion), and that's still less than a tenth of healthcare R&D.

In the U.S., we spend nearly 18% of GDP ($8233 per person per year) on healthcare.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't spend that much on a smartphone.

Charles Murray
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Re: great article
Charles Murray   3/6/2013 9:49:45 PM
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I couldn't agree more, CLMcDade. I like the idea that "everybody in the class has to be able to do the math, the analysis, the real dimension drwaings." It's nice to know that there's such practical application of knowledge outside the realm of the senior design project.

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: great article
Elizabeth M   3/7/2013 5:00:04 AM
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Indeed. Would be nice if one of the big companies really got behind medical device research, wouldn't it? Then they could really back this kind of work.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: great article
Charles Murray   3/7/2013 6:13:34 PM
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Great suggestion, Liz. I'm sure the St. Jude Medicals and the Medtronics of the world would reap some benefitsthese kinds of efforts.  from supporting

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