a must for designdaily..
A clear example of how design influences & can influence the medical industry & it’s products. This project, much like the projects that we have featured in the past, like the Fingers Prosthesis, not only focuses on making the lives better but also attempts to cure the stigma that is associated with these products.
BEND is a revolutionary medical finger split created by design students Loren Lim & Russell Chew in collaboration with National University of Singapore (Division of Industrial Design) & National University Hospital (Dept. of Hand & Reconstructive Microsurgery), Singapore.
Bend is designed for Proximal Interphalangeal Joint fractures and dislocations typically caused by high impact or high-velocity trauma that includes sports injury, high-velocity fall and etc.
Bend has actually been proved viable through a series of tests and was created after loren and russell discovered that some of the characteristics of a spring can very effectively be used in a medical product.
Learn all about the Bend as Loren explains his creation in this interview with designdaily..
Can you please explain the design for us?
“Bend is a non-intrusive Dynamic Traction Split for Proximal Inter-phalangeal Joint fractures and dislocation typically caused by high impact or high-velocity trauma. The strategic cuts along the spilt imitate the function of the mechanical spring, which generates the traction force required for recovery and it gives it a level of bend-ability even when in tension.”
“The intentional lifestyle-friendly aesthetics encourages consistency in use of the split during recovery, as it removes the common negative social stigma people have towards such medical devices, thus ensuring the effectiveness of the treatment.”
What was the inspiration behind this project ?
“The inspiration came about when we were joking around and stuffing a finger into a spring as a split, as the spring can provide both tension and bend-ability at the same time.”
What are you trying to achieve with this project ?
“Medical device don’t need to look very mechanical and scary. These devices can be beautiful products that are lifestyle-friendly, effective and easy to use.”
“Bend also address the social sigma that medical devices have through it’s aesthetic, this improves the consistency of use that eventually improves and ensures the effectiveness of the treatment.”
Can you please explain the structure ?
“The basic function of any traction split is to keep the finger in tension in order to offload the force acting on the joint and to align the finger during the recovery phase. Allowing the finger to bend during this phase prevents the joint from losing its ability to bend after recovery.”
“Bend achieves its traction through the strategic cuts along the body that behaves like spring when under tension, at the same time the cuts allows the split to bend.”
Can you please walk us through the whole designing process and how you came to the final proposal that we see?
“We started by studying the medical condition and its existing treatments and devices with the help of Dr. Andre Cheah (subject expert & collaborator), where we began to realise the limitations and issues the of each treatment. In the search for a solution we began ideation and prototyping, we got really excited when we came across the solution that Bend is currently using, it a solution that seems to promises a treatment that does not require intrusive surgery, complicated and bulky mechanical contraption and yet still enables the bending of the finger even when in tension.”
“At the start, we began prototyping the split by milling 1 inch PVC pipes, created multiple variations with difference cuts and tested the tension and bend-ability of the pipes. During the later stage of the development, we begin using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) (click) additive manufacturing, this allows us to control the tension of the split through the wall thickness and also enabled us to customise the split for different finger sizes.”
“Next, we began exploring the use of parametric CAD software that allowed us to use input just for four main dimensions to generate a custom split without the need for a professional designer or engineer, in doing so it also made the system to be scalable as a business model when required.”
“It started off as an 11 weeks medical studio project but currently we are still working with NUH in the validation and improvement of the design.”
How does the BEND work & Have you tested it ?
“First, we place a base support close to the tip of the finger, followed by the custom printed split. Next, we attach a string directly into the nail with an adhesive. Lastly, we adjust the tension of the device through the way we anchored the stringed nail on the tip of the split.”
“At present we have gone through several testing that includes mechanical testing and cadaver testing. We have a few design variations and have come up with the most optimal design.”
How does the Bend differ from other products available for these medical conditions ?
“It is easy to use and a little training is required compared to the current practice where it requires a highly trained hand doctor. In addition, the current solution requires a post and pre surgery which we don’t need with Bend. The minimal and compact design reduces the daily lifestyle impact that traditional treatment may cause.”
“Bend is able to flex up to 50 degrees (range of motion) while it maintains its traction force. This flexion is required for a better recovery and it is 30 degrees more than the existing dynamic traction splint.”
Is it better than the K-wire incision method ?
“At this point, we can’t state that its is better but the primary testes we have done have been highly promising.”
“What we can say is Bend does not require any k-wire incision, where a surgery is needed, and this decreases the chance of infection to the finger. By using an External method of a mounting system which attaches a string to the nail with adhesive, this system is still able to provide enough strength that is needed for the traction force while retaining the flexion (bend-ability) of the split.”
Is there any kind of Exercise that a patient needs to do ?
“At present it is depends on the doctor, however with the ability to move in a contained and controlled motion it will improve the treatment’s outcome.”
What impact do you think that Bend will have on the design and medical industry ?
“Bend was created as We saw the need to create a more effective and lifestyle friendly dynamic traction splint. We believe it will inspire others to re-imagine existing treatments as technology will enable new ways to approach these injuries.”
(click on the images to enlarge)
“every design reflects the values of it’s designer in itself..” so how does this apply to you and Russell ?
“Bend is born out of understanding of the extensively complex and multifaceted perimeters of the project, meeting not just the user needs but also the business and limitations of technology.”
“We believe that good design is innovative and harmonic. It is about finding the harmony in the complexity of the design project. And innovation comes from embracing the complexity, pushing limitations and treading on uncharted waters.”
Are you planning to make this into a Product ?
“We have received great response from professionals, it has motivated us to push it even further. We are currently still working with NUH, together we hope to make this into a product that will eventually be available for the treatment of such injuries.”
– We see that you have used the technique of 3D Printing, how much have you used this technology in the production of the Bend ?
“Most of Bend is printed in nylon with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3d printing, this technique has allowed us to precisely control bend’s physical size and it’s mechanical properties that are optimised with our algorithm. Without this technique we would not have been abled to create Bend, as current manufacturing techniques are not suitable for such a design work and not scalable for such a intergraded solution .”
– Would this project be possible without 3d printing ?
“It is still possible to a certain extent to create without 3d printing, But as a treatment, it will not be as effective due to the differences in our fingers. Without 3d printing it would require to design multiple sizes (fingers) and for each size different variation of traction forces (spring tension), this will make it highly complicated for the practitioners and will not make economical sense as a business.”
– Since you have used 3D printing in the production of the Bend, so is it possible for a person to make one at home, if they have a 3d printer ?
“Even through we designed Bend with mass customisation in mind, and it only requires 4 key measurements and base of the X-rays that was used for the diagnoses of the injuries. Most home 3D printers are Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) (click) based, such printers lack the precision and constancy which will affect the efficiency of the treatment. While there are higher quality home 3d printers that uses Stereolithography (SLA), it is still highly not recommended as every printer’s material composition is different and the stability and consistency of the material varies due to its printing environment.”
LorenLim on Behance
RussellChew on Behance.