Pressure Mapping for Medical Device R&D and Design

Grip Ergonomics

For design engineers, pressure mapping has become an integral tool for uncovering critical details of a device or product that can improve end users’ experience.

Pressure mapping technology, from prototyping to validating material selection, helps in enhancing the ergonomic quality of a wide range of devices and products utilized in the medical domain. For example, clear, measurable data on grip force can aid design engineers to deal with the need for more user-friendly devices.

Case Example: Improving Syringe Design for the Broadest Population of Users

The standard medical procedure sclerotherapy is generally used for the removal of varicose veins, but this approach can also be used for treating children afflicted with lymphatic malformations. In this procedure, a sclerosant solution is administered into the vein of the patient, causing the blood to clot. Therefore, the affected veins are eventually destroyed by the body, making them vanish.

Hand-held injectors, like the one depicted in Figure 1, are the most standard technique used for administering sclerosant.

Ergonomic grip display of a sclerosant injector design.

Ergonomic grip display of a sclerosant injector design.

Figure 1. Ergonomic grip display of a sclerosant injector design.

Recently, pressure mapping technology was used by a medical device company to create a design with an improved ergonomic grip force and thus facilitate a smoother delivery system.

Injector prototypes were covered with sensors to measure the amount of grip force needed to carry out the procedure. Armed with this information, the design engineers successfully identified the easiest-to-use design.

Other Similar Applications

  • Self-injector/pen design
  • Surgical tool design

Proving Consistency of Robotic Systems

Measurable data are gathered by pressure mapping to enable design engineers to develop more intelligent robotic surgical systems.

Some time back, automated medical devices, such as robotic surgical systems, were viewed with certain misgivings, but now, patients and surgeons are aware that these breakthroughs can indeed enhance the efficacy of a treatment process. Such systems, with the aid of pressure mapping, can be rendered safer than ever.

Case Example: Quantifying Consistency of a Laparoscopic Robotic System

As technology progresses, complex robotic systems are performing an increasing number of minimally invasive surgical procedures. Such robotic systems are designed to carry out certain actions with an improved level of consistency. Although these systems are capable of simplifying routine processes to a large extent, mechanical errors can be equally detrimental.

Recently, a manufacturer of robotic surgical systems wanted to comprehend the surgical grip force of a robot and assess its hinge design. Therefore, a high-resolution pressure mapping sensor was positioned between various gripper prototypes to read the real-time grip force and pressure distribution administered by the robot (see Figure 2).

Pressure feedback from a laparoscopic surgical robot gripper.

Pressure feedback from a laparoscopic surgical robot gripper.

Figure 2. Pressure feedback from a laparoscopic surgical robot gripper.

But, unexpectedly, certain gripper designs were found to exhibit a possibly dangerous grip force. Therefore, the required design adjustments were made and a safer and more dependable system was developed.

Other Similar Applications

  • Auto-injector devices
  • Compression devices
  • Automated CPR systems

Enabling On-the-Go Health Monitoring

With the help of pressure mapping, design engineers can successfully create intelligent medical devices that enable patients to continue their treatments without having to make frequent visits to the doctor’s office.

Developing effective treatment technologies that allow patients to get back to their normal lives is a challenging but noble task that is often faced by medical device design engineers. Although it is not viable for a patient and a physician to remain in touch all the time, pressure mapping technology can aid design engineers to develop methods that can help them stay in constant touch.

Case Example: Wearable Heartbeat Monitor

Whether recovering from a procedure or injury or due to a hereditary condition, an irregular heartbeat can result in sudden and serious health complications. Now, with the emergence of wearable fitness trackers, patients can track their conditions by simply tapping their wrist bands a couple of times.

For design engineers creating these kinds of on-the-go health monitoring devices, pressure mapping technology has been a handy measurement tool. With the help of extremely thin pressure mapping sensors, design engineers can check the extent of contact needed between the device and the subject to capture critical data related to heart function.

Shown in Figure 3 is an example of the perfect contact and distribution of pressure over a patient’s wrist that will record a precise reading.

Pressure distribution of a health-monitoring wrist band fitted on a human subject.

Pressure distribution of a health-monitoring wrist band fitted on a human subject.

Figure 3. Pressure distribution of a health-monitoring wrist band fitted on a human subject.

Other Similar Applications

  • Athletic equipment design
  • Bed monitoring systems
  • Corrective footwear design
  • Rehabilitative equipment design (air casts, crutches, wheelchairs, etc.)

About Tekscan

Amazing insights and innovative products using Tekscan pressure mapping, force measurement, and tactile sensors

Tekscan's patented tactile force measurement and pressure mapping solutions provide you with actionable information to optimize your product designs or improve clinical and research outcomes. Our sensors and systems are used in a wide range of applications either as a stand-alone solution or as an embedded technology. Simply put, we help you create better, differentiated products and services.

Located in the Innovation District of Boston, Tekscan has been in business since 1987. During that time, we've perfected our product, our team and our process to ensure we meet our customers' expectations. Today, the team is over 100 employees strong.

Tekscan: your trusted technology partner.

Quality - Tekscan, Inc. is committed to quality. Sensor design, manufacturing, and production happen at ISO 9001 compliant & 13485 registered Tekscan headquarters.. Our Technical Team is made up of electrical and mechanical engineers who consult directly with customers throughout each step of the sensor design process, from conception through production.

Innovation - Tekscan is a high technology company always pushing the limits through continuous innovation to maintain its world leading position in the area of tactile sensing. The company invests over 14% of its revenues on R&D and Innovation, similar to Google and Microsoft, and higher than the industry averages of Health & Medical (12%) and Computer & Electronics (8.8%) and much higher than the average US company (under 5%).

Company Growth - Tekscan has experienced continued growth. While we are a US company, half of our business is international. Tekscan has earned a ranking on the Inc. 5000, the business magazine’s annual listing of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

Longevity - Thanks to standing on solid financial ground, Tekscan has been able to dedicate significant resources and money to invest in itself through expanded production capabilities. Because we have no debt as a company, our customers can be confident they are making a smart and solid investment when they choose Tekscan.

We have a solution for you.

A Tekscan product is found in many different environments; in your local clinicians’ office, in an academic setting for research, a Fortune 500 company and your local retailer. Tekscan has a broad product portfolio to meet the needs of our customers. Tekscan's philosophy is to provide highly cost-effective upgrade paths to enhance and expand the utilization of our products by our customers. We have successfully integrated our technology into OEM products, and continues to develop sensors and systems that are rapidly becoming industry standards.


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Last updated: Apr 24, 2019 at 6:54 AM

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