Project PeriOperative focuses on user needs with warming mattress design

This semester we’ve highlighted Team Guatemala and Project MESA of M-HEAL, but if you move across the Globe to the Dominican Republic, you’ll find another M-HEAL team hard at work — Project PeriOperative.

Led by Engineering graduate student Ryan Thomas, the project began in 2015 after a needs assessment trip to the Dominican Republic in 2015. The project aimed to meet the needs of hospitals in the Dominican Republic of maintaining normal body temperature of patients in surgery to prevent them from experiencing perioperative hypothermia.

To address the problem, the team developed a warming mattress that is placed over the operating table and monitors a patient’s body temperature during surgery. Thomas said the team is currently cross checking feedback they received on the device during their trip to the Dominican Republic in August. They aim to bring the redesigned product back to the Dominican Republic again this summer.

“Right now, we’re taking all the feedback we got on the prototype to verify and refine requirements for the device that we have already, and also add any that we had missed,” Thomas said.

This semester, the team also developed a new business model which they presented in the first round of the Michigan Business Challenge. They also presented at the Biomedical Engineering Career Day, the M-HEAL Design Review and the Design Expo.

The team was able to update their mattress design, control logic and housing based on new user requirements and needs from the August trip to the Dominican Republic. They also held a workshop to train their members on the current control code and to practice working in Arduino, an electronic prototyping platform.

Thomas said the team has taken an innovative approach to their designs by focusing heavily on the needs of their users.

“I think the innovative part of our project is we aren’t using incremental solutions to the current solutions on the market here in the U.S, but instead we really sought to understand the situations of our users, and brought them into the consideration of the design aimed to meet those needs,” he said.

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