A bleeding and breathing Simulation Mannequin for Surgical Interventions

On the official website of CAE Healthcare an amazing new generation simulation mannequin, iStan, is described as follows:

CAE Healthcare’s new wireless and tetherless simulator represents the first real breakthrough in healthcare mannequin technology in the last 30 years. iStan looks, feels and acts so real your students won’t even know it’s a mannequin. iStan’s array of advanced features and breakthrough technology will take your simulation training to a new and exciting level of realism.

ImageWhat are we talking about? iStan is an extremely realistic patient simulator, completely wireless (operated by a rechargeable battery) and able to reproduce an impressive range of articulated movements and reactions to the surgical acts that are simulated on (and inside) its body. It can sweat, bleed, breathe and even cry in a perfectly life-like way. Its spine, neck, arms and hips are programmed to mimic “the anatomical workings of the human body to a level of realism not possible with other simulators“.

Blood losses, arterial pressure measurements, Imageheart attacks, anethesia effects, pupillary contraction and dilation. But also bone fractures, damages to vital organs and even a pregnancy. They all can be reproduced with incredible accuracy by iStan, which is currently used by future surgeons as a practise tool.

The price of a single mannequin is about 65 k€. Everybody is sure it worths investing in this product, presented as the most powerful and most advanced patient simulator in the world.

A new micromotors technology

Piezoelectric motors have been developed in the last years by many enterprises. This new technology is very interesting since it offers high forces and precision with miniature dimensions.

To have an idea, let’s consider SQUIGGLE micromotors developed by Newscale Technologies. Both linear and rotary micromotors are able to produce up to 5 N forces while being smaller than a coin. Despite their tiny dimensions (1.8 x 1.8 x 6 mm), these devices can be controlled with nanometer precision and are very robust.

As reported on the aforementioned website, “piezoelectric actuators change shape when electrically excited. A SQUIGGLE motor consists of several piezoelectric ceramic actuators attached to a threaded nut, with a mating threaded screw inside. Applying power to the actuators creates ultrasonic vibrations, causing the nut to vibrate in an orbit“.

The field of application of such micromotors is huge and it becomes especially interesting in the case of biomedical devices 😉

Remotely powered, multichannel, microprocessor based telemetry systems for a smart implantable total knee implant

This interesting paper (click for the PDF version, available online), published in 1999 by Townsend et al., presents an instrumented tibial baseplate for in-vivo measurements of knee tibiofemoral forces. A multichannel telemetry system is combined with strain gauges; the whole system is alimented wirelessly by means of magnetic induction.

Basically, electrical energy is transferred from a primary external coil, properly positioned around the patient’s leg during the medical check, to a secondary coil, smaller and embedded in the tibial tray stem. Approximately 40 mW of power are transferred and supply the whole telemetry system, which can transmit data to an external receiver within a range of 3-5 meters.

Complete reference:

Townsend, C.P., and Arms, S.W., Hamel, M.J., ”Remotely Powered, Multichannel, Microprocessor Based Telemetry Systems for a Smart Implantable Total Knee Implant”, SPIE’s 6th Annual Int’l conference, Date: Mar. 1999.