To remove small orthopedic hardware, surgeons
currently use what is called C-arm fluoroscopy to indicate
the orientation and position of the tiny metal screws and
nails. The two-dimensional image, however, is far from
ideal, and surgeons often have difficulty locating the
screw head, a shortcoming that can extend the length of the
To better aid orthopedic surgeons frustrated by the
technology, a team of Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering
students has designed the prototype of a metal detector
device that would more accurately locate orthopedic
implants in conjunction with the use of C-arm
Jennifer Hoi, a senior biomedical engineering student
and co-leader of the project team, said that the prototype
looks very promising, and the group should know more very
soon about how much surgery time the device can save.
Hoi joked that she wasn't always this optimistic.
"It was looking pretty bleak in the beginning," Hoi
said with a laugh. "But this past semester we really pulled
through, and we are very happy by how the prototype turned
out. We have the solid basics down now and are in the
The device is one of 12 that will be on display at the
second annual BME Design Day, an all-day event that
showcases the medical devices developed by undergraduate,
and some graduate, students in the Whiting School's
Biomedical Engineering Department. This year's event will
be held on Wednesday, May 2, in 210 Hodson Hall, Homewood
campus, and will once again draw industry representatives
and alumni as well as faculty and students. More than 100
people have already registered to attend.
The students will deliver both oral and poster
presentations on the design ideas that resulted from their
research or course work.
Nine of the projects will be from undergraduates
enrolled in BME's Design Team course, in which groups of
students at all grade levels work together during the fall
and spring semesters to solve a problem. Each team's goal
is the creation of a prototype, artifact, system or process
that achieves its objectives and performs functions to meet
a biomedical need.
The other three projects to be showcased come from
seniors and graduate students enrolled in BME's
This week, the department will select five projects
that will be the featured presentations during the event's
morning segment. These presentations will be followed by
the Medtronic Distinguished Lecture, given this year by Mir
Imran, founder and CEO of InCube Laboratories and one of
the world's most successful inventors, entrepreneurs and
investors in health care. Imran holds more than 200
patents, most notably one for the automatic implantable
The afternoon portion of the event will feature a
student poster session, student instrumentation
presentation and, finally, an awards ceremony for the top
three design projects as selected by a panel of judges. The
team presented with the top prize will receive $2,000 from
Each design team comprises seven to 10 undergraduate
students, including designated senior leaders, who work
together on a specific problem posed by sponsors,
predominantly School of Medicine clinicians and local
"A lot of our clinicians have concepts and design
ideas, but they don't have the manpower, engineering
expertise or lab space to bring their ideas to fruition,"
said Aditya Polasani, coordinator of BME Design Day and
industrial liaison associate for the Biomedical Engineering
Department. "We help them partner with students who have
the technical expertise, the time and the desire to develop
a functioning prototype while also conducting intellectual
property assessment and market research analysis."
The design projects, which are funded by the sponsors
and the department, culminate in a prototype, a final
report and an assessment of commercial application.
BME Design Day seeks to spotlight the success of
translational research. Working together, faculty from the
School of Medicine and students from the Department of
Biomedical Engineering have created numerous inventions,
filed for a number of patents, founded several start-up
companies and provided the basis for licensing agreements
for the university, according to Murray Sachs, chair of the
Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Sachs said that the projects that will be on display
on Design Day are all noteworthy.
"All the projects we choose to support have the
potential for commercial and clinical application, or
both," he said.
The May 2 event will also feature the official
announcement of the opening of the Center for
Bioengineering Innovation and Design.
The mission of the center is to improve human health
by developing medical devices that solve important clinical
problems, and to educate a new generation of medical device
engineers and clinical fellows. The center also will
facilitate technology transfer and commercialization of
inventions developed by students, clinicians and research
Sachs said that this translational research center, a
partnership between the schools of Engineering and
Medicine, will enable the Biomedical Engineering Department
to expand the capacity to undertake complex and challenging
medical device design and development projects while also
providing greater access for industry, clinicians and
research scientists to collaborate with Johns Hopkins
In addition to Metal Detector Device for Removal of
Surgical Screws, other projects on display will include
Anterior Lumbar Spine Plate, Intuitive Airway Management,
Rapid Glaucoma Screening Device and Hands-free Crutch for
Ankle, Foot and Toe Injuries.
For more information, and to register for the event,