The Design Laboratory serves as the starting point for device concept to development to prototyping. The hardware and software in this laboratory provide the capabilities to design, analyze, reconstruct, and develop.

Design iterations typically take days to weeks or months, but in the FOR Design Laboratory, new design iterations may only take days to implement. This is because the requirements for designing, analyzing, and prototype production are consolidated into one laboratory. The combination of technologies found in the Design Laboratory significantly reduces design and development time, while also lowering the cost of development and improving efficiency by negating the need for outsourcing the prototype manufacturing.

Hardware includes:

  • Dual quad-core design workstation
  • Objet Alaris30 3D printer
  • NextEngine 3D laser scanner
  • Bruker SkyScan 1173 X-ray micro-CT with a 2 quad-core workstation (+GPU card)

Software includes:

  • SolidWorks
  • Abaqus Finite Element Analysis
  • JMAG Electromechanical and Magnetic Simulation
  • Mimics
  • SkyScan software for micro-CT analysis (NRecon, CTVox/Vol, CTAn, etc.)

The Alaris30 3D printer provides easy access to quickly print out implant or instrument prototypes or test fixtures, and allows for efficient building, testing of fit or design, and redesigning/reprinting, as needed. The NextEngine 3D scanner can be used to reverse-engineer existing parts and implants. Having scans of an object to create 3D geometries helps us study and develop a better understanding of the design requirements and functionality of a particular device.

The SkyScan 1173 micro-CT enables us to scan relatively large and heavy objects and create a 3D model from the scan. It has a 4 ┬Ám nominal resolution, a field of view diameter of 140mm by 140mm in height, spiral scanning capabilities, a 5 Megapixel distortion-free camera and a 130 kV micro-focus source. With models created from the scans, its software can be used to visualize, reorient, and section the scanned object. Additionally, one can analyze features of interest, calculate geometries and volumes, calculate bone parameters, or examine the bone-implant interface.

SolidWorks is used to create and validate designs of implants, surgical instruments and tools, and custom test fixtures. Any design can be easily sent to the 3D printer for implant-instrument prototyping or for use as fixtures in mechanical testing. With Abaqus FEA, multibody systems can be analyzed for stresses, strains, and loads and theoretical outcomes can be determined before (or in lieu of) testing.

JMAG allows us to simulate various electromechanical and magnetic scenarios to predict loads, forces, and torques. It has a CAD linking feature that allows for integration with SolidWorks, and with this feature the software can parameterize any dimension, mating, or feature in a SolidWorks model in order to run numerous scenarios. Currently, JMAG is being used to model various magnetic configurations, and the force outputs are being analyzed as part of a project to develop magnetic prosthetic attachments.

Mimics reconstruction software imports MRI/CT scans to provide 3D models that accurately represent anatomical features, which are essential to assess fit of prototype implants or instruments via virtual surgery.