Product Highlights Drive to Bring Artistry Into STEM
Brisbane medical device innovators Field Orthopaedics have combined with leading industrial design team Clandestine Design Group to win Product Design Gold at the Good Design Awards® for their ground-breaking Micro Screw Kit, proving that medical devices can be aesthetic and precise.
Awarded the win based on the combination of creative thinking, good design principles and high manufacturing quality, the product stood out because it re-imagines the way medical devices are used and managed by all orthopaedic staff before, during and after a surgical procedure.
Field Orthopaedics CEO, Dr Chris Jeffery, 31 said the Micro Screw is a complete redesign and optimization of the orthopaedic screw, with the Micro Screw Kit a design extension element critical to storage, safety and sterilization.
Dr Jeffrey said in injuries to the arms and legs, 40% of the time surgery can be complicated due to issues related to orthopaedic screws.
“Factors making operations to these areas more difficult are the lack of specialized instruments to help handle and hold the injured bones in place whilst surgeons operate, the inability to accurately place implants and the size and strength of the permanent fixation,” Dr. Jeffery said.
For development of the Micro Screw, the Field Orthopaedics engineers worked with world-renowned hand surgeon Dr. Greg Couzens to understand the issues that affect surgeons and impact patients in the management of these fractures. They then teamed with Design Director and Founder of Clandestine Design Group, Neil Davidson and Senior Designer Sara Pontoppidan to completely re-imagine and redesign all components of the product to help surgeons deliver better outcomes.
“We not only considered the design of the micro screw and the screwdriver as key components needing design, but we also re-imagined the package in which the elements are housed, “said Dr Jeffery.
“To minimise error during the surgical process, each Micro Screw element can only go in a specific niche and the case itself is also designed to be sterilised with the implements to ensure the highest form of safety for patients and ease for medical staff.”
The Good Design Awards Jury commented that it was a, “high precision, thoughtfully laid out total product solution. The machining of the product is of a very high standard and it is great how there is a place for everything and everything has a place - minimising the opportunity for error.”
Over a year in design and manufacture, the Micro Screw Kit has been an exciting collaboration with Dr Jeffery for industrial designer Neil Davidson, who is highly recognised for his work in contemporary industrial, furniture and object design.
“Of course, the Micro Screw Kit surgical tools need to function flawlessly, but it’s a very new and different thing to have surgery tools that also look great and stir desire through the right amount of focus on aesthetics, decorative embellishment and sophistication,” Mr Davidson said.
Driving both Dr Jeffery and Mr Davidson is the desire to inject artistry into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) focus of medical device creation. They both feel that highly functional devices can also be beautiful so the surgical teams enjoy working with them every day.
“STEM is such a priority in Australian teaching and development, however we believe that it should actually be STEAM that is encouraged so that more artistry – the A in STEAM – gets introduced to the teaching and institutions that are shaping the future of our creators and innovators,” said Dr Jeffery.
Mr Davidson added, “there is a very strong focus on STEM in the national senior education system, however we have been excited to see a design-led pedagogy begun to be implemented broadly across the senior education syllabus, both nationally and most recently in Queensland.
“The Micro Screw Kit is a great example of STEAM and my favourite piece is the Hand-Held Driver. This product embodies the sophistication, technical accuracy, medical practice expertise and end-user stewardship that Field Orthopaedics stands for and we are so excited to have been a part of its creation.”
Mr Davidson said one of the reasons he loved working with Dr Jeffery and the Field Orthopaedics team was that they purposely targeted problems that had no solution previously, often resulting in new-to-category or new-to-world product innovation outcomes.
The annual Good Design Awards is Australia's most prestigious Awards for design and innovation with a proud history dating back to 1958. The Awards celebrate the best new products and services on the market, excellence in architectural design, digital and communication design and reward emerging areas of design including business model innovation, social impact and design entrepreneurship.