Clinical Bioengineering: Team Novus

Clinical Bioengineering: Team Novus

Category: Clinical

In Clinical Bioengineering (BIOENG 2170), students participate in intensive ideation work trying to identify problems and creating solutions. To have a hands-on learning experience, the students contact several mentors to observe clinical settings. Novus was one of the teams in the Spring 2016 course and their clinical observations and ideation led to a solution that they introduced at BioE Day, a BMES organized event showcasing the translational and traditional research being undertaken by students and faculty from the University of Pittsburgh in the form of panels, posters, and presentations.

Novus is made of five students: Abby Badger (MBA-MS), Samantha Sutherland (MPE-MS), Doug Feck (MPE-MS), Sushrut Bhalerao (MPE-MS), and Xiaolin Zhu (MPE-MS). They focused their observations in the specialties of cardiology, orthopedics, rehabilitation, and spinal surgery.

Samantha Sutherland notes that a meaningful component was learning how to communicate with busy physicians, and she recommends trying to call them or their assistants directly to schedule a meeting. Successfully scheduling these meetings allowed the team to observe clinical environments and become more aware of the real work environment for medical professionals.

Novus identified needs for these four clinics, and brainstormed ~70 solutions across these needs. They honed in on one solution that could help with anterior cervical retractions. This device idea was the one that they presented at BioE Day, which was optional for students in Clinical Bioengineering. Samantha suggests to future students that they should participate in BioE Day, whether or not their design is fully developed. For Novus, BioE Day provided substantial feedback and showed the team where they could improve their work. Participating in BioE Day was also another way to professionally develop skills like visually displaying work and verbally communicating a project to an audience.

These five students hope to carry on their idea in Medical Product Prototyping (BIOENG 2171) in the Fall. They already have a rough prototype, referred to as a “pretotype” in the ideation coursework. This early prototype is of a purely mechanical design, and Novus hopes to test an electromechanical design in the Fall and compare the two approaches functionally and physically.


Julia Lopez
CMI Fellow