Fall Semester & National BMES Conference

We have made it to the halfway point of the fall semester! Time is flying by way too fast, but it’s been a great semester so far. At the top of October, the other GMI students and I had our first progress review for our individual implementation projects (see my previous post for project details). It was great to see the progress everyone had made in just over a month of work!

About two weeks ago, I decided to reevaluate the direction my individual project was going in and return to the basic design stage. This was both an exciting and nerve-racking decision. The work done by the previous team who developed the technology was great; however, while looking deeper into the device’s function and considering its implementation in the body, a variety of concerns developed. In order to determine if the technology created by the previous team is the most suitable for our application, I will return to the basic design stage to generate alternative non-invasive stent removal extraction concepts, then assess those ideas with the existing technology to determine the best concept to move forward with. Though this pivot will slightly stall the development of my project, I would prefer to spend time now ensuring my project’s technology is as sound as possible before we expend time and money on animal studies or clinical trials.

The day after our first GMI project progress review, Luis and I flew to Minneapolis for the national BMES conference! Surprisingly, this was my first time to the national conference despite being a two-time board member and former president of the Rice chapter of BMES while I was an undergraduate. As soon as we got off the plane Wednesday morning, Luis and I had a jam-packed schedule. It was great getting the chance to visit the Twin Cities, one of the largest medtech hubs in the country. Luis and I were fortunate enough to be able to join a tour of one of Medtronic’s largest R&D facilities just north of the downtown area we were staying in. I’ve visited a couple Medtronic facilities in California before, but had never been to a facility quite as large or high-tech like the one we visited. The tour consisted of presentations on a number of new products, visits to device development labs, and demonstrations of the stress and fatigue testing performed on some of Medtronic’s devices.

During the rest of my time at BMES, I attended a number of panels, networking events, lectures, and luncheons, the majority with a focus on biomedical engineers in industry or minorities in biomedical engineering. It was a great experience to be surrounded by so many other people who are passionate about biomedical engineering and advancing human healthcare. This trip proved to be a great reminder of why I have pursued two degrees in biomedical engineering and why I aim to work on medical technology development and the advancement of global healthcare throughout my career.

Until next time,

Michael

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