AdventHealth Nicholson Center announced the official launch of its Prototype Lab to provide the technology, industry knowledge and testing needed to take a medical product from concept to working prototype.
The Prototype Lab is a space for physicians, researchers, engineers and other healthcare professionals to develop their ideas for medical devices. Nicholson Center’s in-house engineers use the latest technology in 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) modeling and 3D printing to develop, test and refine inventions to improve clinical outcomes.
“Our expert team can help bring an idea from ‘napkin sketch’ to reality, and our 3D printing capabilities allow inventors to hold an actual version of their device in their hands for evaluation,” said Jodi Fails, B.S., Biomedical Engineer and Prototype Lab lead at AdventHealth Nicholson Center. “Most product developers assist with creation but have to look externally for lab testing. However, with Nicholson Center’s Prototype Lab, we have the unique ability to take inventions straight from the printer to the lab for immediate testing on high-quality tissue.”
To begin the development process, the Prototype Lab engineers first take the inventor’s initial concept and complete a preliminary art and patent search. Then, they begin the process of CAD 3D modeling. Once a final design is selected, the model is sent to the in-house Objet350 Connex3 polyjet printer, which can print more than 1,000 materials – including rigid plastic, flexible rubber, transparent, full color and any combination – for a functional prototype. After evaluation, the inventor can immediately test their device on tissue in the same building through Nicholson Center’s labs. If an inventor has a product that is ready to be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Nicholson Center can also serve as a validating site for the product’s testing period.
“Beyond the technology and testing capabilities at Nicholson Center, our experts bring the pivotal industry knowledge that is so crucial to the early stages of product development,” said Lilly Graziani, Director of Corporate Development at AdventHealth Nicholson Center. “With a key balance of tradition and innovation, our engineers, physicians and clinical staff work with inventors to create a product that will reach the medical community’s ultimate goal: improving patient outcomes.”
Additionally, the Prototype Lab can assist with personalized medicine. For instance, Nicholson Center engineers can 3D print patient anatomy converted from a CT or MRI scan to be used during patient consultation, surgical planning, and as a reference throughout a procedure – providing physicians with an additional pre-surgery planning tool. The lab can also help develop specialized educational training devices to be used in courses to teach specific procedures or for training on particular machines.