Creative student designs for healthcare

Industrial Design students at the NUS School of Design and Environment (SDE) are harnessing their creativity to come up with designs that address real-life healthcare issues. They have developed innovative prototypes, including practical solutions for surgical simulation and easier bone marrow examination.

Undergraduates from Year 2 to 4 at the School’s Medical Design Studio have been exploring fresh ideas and approaches to create user-friendly devices that help medical workers improve care for patients. The Studio, an initiative of the Division of Industrial Design (DID) at the School, engages design students to contribute in the medical field through design-thinking by adopting human-centred design approach. The students are required, for each topic assigned, to work with National University Hospital (NUH) doctors for between 11 and 13 weeks on field studies and concept evaluation in order to translate their ideas into working prototypes.

For example, HAND, a surgical simulator by Year 4 student Raymond Hon Sui Ming and Year 2 student Loren Lim Tian Hwee, enables young surgeons to practise hand surgery. Distinct features and “landmarks” of the human hand such as knuckles and joints have been re-created on the “hand” by 3D printing. These features serve as reference points which let the surgeon realistically simulate the planning process of the operation. Also, by using surgical gloves which are easily found in a hospital, the designers were able to imitate the layers and tension of human skin. The “skin” allows a trainee to perform realistic incisions and sutures.

This project with 10 locally produced models have contributed to two successful training sessions at NUH, which will continue to be held every year. HAND was developed with the help of Dr Sandeep J Sebastin and Dr Lim Jin Xi from the NUH Department of Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery.

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