• Question: If a customer had a very particular style when it came to your product would you make something custom to suit them or tell them that what you have is the only thing they can buy?

    Asked by time022jam to Tom, Sanjeev, Orla, Fiona, Eimear, Cillian on 3 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Tom Hodgkinson

      Tom Hodgkinson answered on 3 Mar 2020:

      For what I do, this is kind of the future we are aiming for. To make sure a person has the correct treatment to heal their particular injury or disease we need to engineer custom devices and medicines- this is called personalised medicine and can include looking at molecules like the DNA of the patient or, for example, the shape of the injury. In the future to be able to make materials that are the exact type and shape an individual person needs and delivers exactly the medicine they need to heal.

    • Photo: Fiona Malone

      Fiona Malone answered on 3 Mar 2020:

      I try to make my products as customisable as possible. Not every patient is the same and not every disease behaves the same way so making parts interchangeable to the customers specification is very important. Being adaptable is an important part of the design process. Plus – they’re the ones paying! 🙂

    • Photo: Cillian Thompson

      Cillian Thompson answered on 3 Mar 2020:

      Yes I suppose one of the aims of my project is to be able to make custom screws and plates for patients bones. A lot of the time in healthcare there are very specific cases so we will mostly need to make custom built parts to suit the patient or customer!

    • Photo: Orla McGee

      Orla McGee answered on 3 Mar 2020:

      A lot of devices are made to be the same with only small changes and a few different sizes. This is because every change in design needs to be carefully tested for a number of years to ensure it is safe enough to go into a patient.
      But with new technologies, we are trying to do these tests on computers combined with real-life tests to speed up the testing and get newer and better devices to the patient faster. My work is looking into designing devices for a specific patient because people’s bodies and the problems they might have are very different, especially in children.
      However, a lot of work needs to be done on this to make sure these new devices for specific patients are just as safe as the devices that already exist.

    • Photo: Eimear O'Hara

      Eimear O'Hara answered on 3 Mar 2020:

      It depends on the product. One of the cool new areas with orthopaedics is ‘patient-specific implants’. The way it works it their broken hip (for example) is CT scanned, then recreated on a computer. A hip implant is then modified to fit that person’s bone perfectly. It can be made normally or using 3D printing and the surgeon implants it in the patient.

    • Photo: Sanjeev Kumar

      Sanjeev Kumar answered on 9 Mar 2020:

      I work in collaboration with industry partners and usually develop a product according to the specific demand. Recently, I developed a wristwatch device for wireless health monitoring of patients in a hospital.
      If required, I can customize the design; for example, can change the antenna or the type of integrated sensors to meet the customers’ specific requirements.