The University of Wolverhampton has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to deliver the Science in Industry Research Centre (SIRC) programme to the Black Country. The SIRC project supports SMEs to conduct collaborative research & innovation projects in the field of industrial applied science with specialist staff based in the Centre established at University of Wolverhampton Science Park.
Eureka Inventions Limited was established in Keele, Staffordshire by two NHS surgeons, with a mission to develop new medical devices. This SIRC intervention was focussed upon the development of a swab counting device that prevents unintentional retention of surgical foreign bodies after surgery. Product conceptualisation was undertaken by Keele University, with further CAD development and 3D printed prototypes produced under the Science in Industry Research Centre (SIRC) programme at the University of Wolverhampton. The prototypes produced under the SIRC project enabled the device to progress into formally simulated trials at University Hospital Birmingham, in early February 2020.
Eureka Inventions conceptualised their failsafe device (an innovative and low-cost medical product) to reduce incidences of surgical item retention. A technical design brief was developed based on their extensive knowledge and in-depth research. Following an initial design phase, undertaken by Prof. Ogrodnik at Keele University, Jonathan Lester, SIRC KT Lead, developed a highly detailed, proof-of-concept prototype of the device.
CAD models were created using PTC Creo software; the design aiming to capture the original low-cost mechanical approach, encompass ergonomic form factors, and introduce a six-tag layout with a sprung loaded indicator - that provides tactile, visual and haptic feedback to the user. A design for manufacture approach was applied during the design phase so that all components could be easily manufactured and assembled. The design was verified through the creation of demonstrable 3D printed prototypes using Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modelling technology (located in the SIRC FabLab). Six complete working devices were produced in time to be trialled in pre-arranged usability studies at NIHR Medtech, University Hospital Birmingham (UHB), where the device has been recognised as a technically feasible solution by doctors, medical professionals, human factors experts and biomedical engineering academics.
A UK patent in respect of this technology has been filed with the UK Intellectual Property Office. Following positive feedback from trials, further steps have now been identified to commercialise the device. The SIRC programme will support further development of the device through a SIRC research collaboration.
Please contact the SIRC project team: SIRC@wlv.ac.uk