Steerable Endoscope with Visual and Therapeutic Capabilities

The Challenge/Customer Need:

The customer attempted to internally develop a first generation endoscope that could deliver steerable visual access and therapy capabilities to the biliary system, but was unsuccessful in designing a commercially viable device. The customer engaged Freudenberg Medical Minimally Invasive Solutions for our expertise in novel concept design, design for manufacturability, industrial design, ergonomic and user interface design and sustaining manufacturing.

The Solution/Freudenberg Medical Minimally Invasive Solutions Resolution:

Our team members spent numerous hours in clinical settings and gaining “Voice of the Customer” feedback to fully understand the user interface requirements of the device, which had not yet been properly explored by the customer team. Our design team knew that correctly integrating the user needs and user interface into the device would be critical to market acceptance.

Freudenberg Medical Minimally Invasive Solutions worked closely on site with key opinion leader’s, observing and interviewing, to understand the current standards of care and mine for areas of improvement. This information was interpreted into a sequence of use/user-interface inputs, allowing the clinicians to achieve the functionality they needed for successful therapy. Freudenberg Medical Minimally Invasive Solutions incorporated these mechanical/ergonomic/functional needs into working prototype devices, with an emphasis on design for manufacturability.

Further, the design team used tools such as interaction matrices and interaction maps to understand the complex sequences of use for each aspect of the device as an individual system and, within the system, as a whole. This process helped the team identify efficiencies in the design and incorporate equivalent functionality with fewer components and steps in assembly and in use. As an example of this creative approach to problems solving, the team recreated a mock endosurgical suite for the purpose of ensuring that the designers could fully appreciate the end user’s experience. This perspective allowed them to effectively deal with line-of-sight, cord and peripheral management, tactile feedback and the relationships of the device within the whole system in an innovative and cost effective way.

Cohesive interaction between our industrial design, design engineering, process engineering, and quality engineering team members ensured quick, efficient development cycles and allowed the team to meet customer requirements of design for manufacturability, innovation and functionality within a project timeline.

The Result/Customer Market Impact:

The result from this collaborative approach with our client is a product line currently manufactured by Freudenberg Medical Minimally Invasive Solutions that is thriving in the marketplace. From the first fully functional prototype tested by key opinion leaders in a clinical setting, the user was able to gain visual access to areas of the biliary system (previously difficult to get to with existing technologies) and deliver specific, precise therapies for the first time. The success of this device in the market place is evident with the funding of next generation improvements. And, the fact that our customer has chosen to partner with us again to develop improvements illustrates the innovation and value that we bring to projects.