Medical Product Prototyping: Team GyrEx
After performing several ethnographical studies at Pediatrics, Orthopedic surgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation clinics, Team GyrEx found an unmet need in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. These studies were conducted under the supervision of Dr. Kristin Hannibal for Pediatrics, Dr. Volker Musahl for Orthopedic Surgery and Dr. Gwen Sowa for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, in the Clinical Bioengineering (BIOENG 2170) course. After spending time in Dr. Gwen Sowa’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation clinic and observing patient-meetings, Team GyrEx noticed that patients often struggled to comply with the doctor’s instructions on physical therapy and exercise. This motivated the students to design the GyrEx device. Finding the unmet clinical need was only the first step of the streamline process utilized by the students to develop their product. While constructing the prototype, the team got the opportunity to put to practical use the skills they honed during the first two semesters of the Medical Product Engineering program.
The GyrEx Team is composed of four students, Janele Archibald (MS-MPE), Hana Casalnova (MS-MPE), Brian Lupish (MS-MPE) and Scott Thompson (MS-MPE). The device developed by the team aims at increasing compliance with performing prescribed exercise outside the medical facility to prevent unnecessary costs of additional visits and to decrease the time of recovery.
The GyrEx device includes motion tracking sensors that are worn on the patient’s body. It provides feedback on the Physical Therapy exercises performed by the patient through a graphical display. The calendar and the MATLAB user interface monitor patient compliance with a prescribed routine. Bluetooth communication is used between the sensors and the computer.
Team GyrEx has prepared a detailed development plan for the device. Ultimately, the goal is for the patient to quickly and easily determine if their exercise repetitions are correct or incorrect and need to be modified to gain the most benefit. The GyrEx device will encourage greater patient compliance and therefore decrease overall physical medicine costs and complications.
Author: Yash Mokashi, CMI Fellow