Alexander Toews, Darrick Lee and Elizabeth Wicks were selected as one of 6 finalist groups, chosen from 19 submissions from institutions across British Columbia in the MDDC Awards for Excellence in Biomedical Engineering Student Design and Innovation. The project was done as an 8-month long project course in ENPH 459 by the 3 fourth-year Engineering Physics students.
The project was sponsored by Dr. Antony Hodgson of UBC Mechanical Engineering. It involved a way of applying a novel ultrasound method to assist surgeons when doing spinal surgery, specifically for spinal fixation procedures. Their work was a feasibility study which involved researching current ultrasound techniques, and building intricate thoughtful test jigs to mimic the situations where their ultrasound probe design would be used to monitor the spine. Overall, the team designed and developed useful mechanical and software tools for further investigation of this technique.
Alex Toews: “The MDDC Award was a great opportunity for us to showcase the work we did for our ENPH 459 project. As finalists we got to present our work to a panel of leaders from Vancouver’s medical device sector. The panel gave very thoughtful and constructive feedback to each group during the question period. This experience has definitely encouraged me to continue with this project in the future.
Watching the other finalists’ presentations was a big highlight for me. The level of innovation and expertise that each group brought to the table was very impressive.”
Elizabeth Wicks: “It was especially exciting to be chosen as MDDC finalists with our Engineering Physics background, given that the other participants were from an Electrical / Computer or Mechanical Biomedical program. I really enjoyed the opportunity to connect with leaders of the medical device industry as well as other passionate and like-minded students. This opportunity exposed us to a wide breadth of technological innovations within the biomedical engineering field.
Given the corporate and technical expertise of the panel, we learned more about the specific design and practical considerations when developing a medical device. With the valuable advice we received from the MDDC panel we are more enthusiastic than ever to continue our work on this ultrasound project with Dr. Hodgson.”
Darrick Lee: “This competition, and this project in general, was an incredible learning experience for me. It opened my eyes to the diverse and challenging problems involved in biomedical engineering. We had the unique opportunity to present our work to the leaders in this field and as a result, received positive and valuable feedback to help further our work in the future.”
the MDDC is a non-profit British Columbia society whose mandate is to advance the collaborative development, evaluation and commercialization of need-oriented Medical Technology