Senior Design projects can sprout from a number of ideas, from legacy projects to personal experience. Some teams also work directly with an industry sponsor, getting a first taste of a hands-on experience working for a client.
Joe McGinley, founder and CEO of McGinley Orthopedic Innovations, McGinley Education Innovations and President and CEO of McGinley Manufacturing, is quite the client.
McGinley is a quadruple alumnus—BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering, along with a PhD in Physiology and MD from Temple Medical School. He worked with a Senior Design team and faculty adviser, Dean Keya Sadeghipour, to develop a fatigue device to test the Intellisense® surgical drill from his company, McGinley Orthopedic Innovations.
“We got to go to Shriners Hospital and see how surgeons were using the drill for ourselves,” Joseph Vespaziani (ME) said.
The Intellisense® drill uses sensor technology to stop automatically when drilling through bone. This can help to avoid drilling too far, resulting in misplaced or too-long screws that could puncture an artery.
According to McGinley, the length issue is particularly sensitive, happening in nearly 25 percent of these procedures (such as the example below), requiring costly follow-ups.
Though the drill is currently in nearly 30 hospitals nationwide, McGinley sought to gather data on its performance under stress.
“We’re testing for longevity, running full cycles of what a drill should be able to handle,” teammate Josh McKee (ME) said. “Everything is designed around the size of the drill and what types of material it uses.”
The current version of the testing device brings the bone into position, drills a hole into a bone sample and indexes to another position. What kind of data are they seeking?
“All kinds. How many holes can we drill in one sample? How long does it take to drill 5,000 holes? What’s it cost to drill 5,000 holes?,” Vespaziani said.
Speaking of iteration, the team gave their final Senior Design presentation to faculty this week. This version looks much different than where they started, thanks to continuous improvements and meetings with their client.
“Something we talked about in the beginning was our hope that Dr. McGinley wouldn’t throw it out when he got it,” Vespaziani said, laughing. “One of our earliest drawings was a robotic arm that looked absolutely nothing like this.
“As we’ve been meeting with him more and more, taking it further and potentially developing it further with other groups, that gives you confidence. We hope the device gets iterated on and eventually gets used.”
See the team’s testing device along with the rest of this semester’s Senior Design projects this Friday in the SERC, and watch the video below to see what Senior Design means for Temple Engineering students.