4 MIN READ

Medical device development
for 8-year-olds

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of running two interactive workshops on medical devices development and engineering for the children of Morley Memorial Primary School in Cambridge.

The day was deeply rewarding and absolutely exhausting! We discussed what a medical device is and I talked through the key steps in the development process. We looked at a few examples of products Team Consulting have worked on – some of which were familiar to the children – and they then had a go at designing a simple medical device. I could spot a few budding engineers already!

view of children's drawings of medical device engineers

The sessions helped to reinforce the importance of planning your work before getting started – whether for some creative writing or in medical device development – and of working as a team to share ideas and make things better.

It was great fun. The children were engaged, curious and full of questions! They were particularly interested in injector pens and fascinated by the OrganOx metra® normothermic machine perfusion.

view of two children's drawings of medical device engineers

Here are some of the questions they asked…

Is a Fitbit a medical device? You can measure your heart beat with it!

Fitbit is not a medical device, we call it a consumer electronic product. It does however use technologies that are similar to those used in medical devices, such as the sensors that measure your heart rate!

How long did it take to develop the machine that keeps livers alive (OrganOx metra®)?

It was about 4 years from when Team’s engineers started to design this machine and the first liver transplant. Since then, it has helped more than 600 patients to receive a new liver. Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge has one of these machines.

How do you clean the liver machine once it has been used?

The parts of the machine that come into contact with the liver, the blood and the nutrients are only used once; they’re discarded after the transplant. All the surfaces of the machines are then wiped clean with disinfectant and new clean parts are fitted to the machine, so it can be used for the next liver.

Are all the people working on injector pens and on the liver machine based in this country (England)?

For most of the medical products we develop, we collaborate with many people in different countries around the world. For the liver machine, all the people we worked with at the time were based in the UK, but many were of different nationalities: English, Greek, German, French!

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