Diving Deeper

Last week was exciting because Annie and I got to dive deeper into our test method project for the guidewire. We found the perfect testing material from a company called SynDaver Labs (check it out here; it’s super cool). They make synthetic tissues, body parts, and whole cadavers to serve as a training and educational tool. Although we are not sure what exactly is used to make these models, they are based on water, salt, and fiber. We had been looking for a material that had similar mechanical properties to veins, and SynDaver makes a venous tissue that is validated to be very similar to real tissue. We shared these findings with our team, and they were equally as enthused as we were. We ordered the material and are looking forward to continuing to develop our test method. This week, our team is in Maple Grove participating in animal testing, and we are anxiously awaiting the results.

In addition to working on the test method, I also learned how to complete complaint analysis. One responsibility of the design assurance department is to manage customer complaints and make design changes to lower the complaint rate. I analyzed complaint data from the past year and created charts to clearly display which countries had the highest sales and highest complaint rates, among other things. I enjoyed learning a new skill, and I now understand the value in analyzing complaints to provide the best customer and patient experience. It is especially important, and sometimes difficult, to understand the reason for complaints and to decipher if it is a design flaw, unclear directions for use, or a clinical use error which is causing the problem.

Things I learned last week:

  • It is very difficult to find data on the mechanical properties of human venous tissue
  • Many materials used as a substitute for human tissue in tests are not clinically validated (for example, aluminum foil)
  • Physicians do not always follow the directions for use for a product, and this must be kept in mind when managing complaints

As for the weekend, we traveled to Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna hot springs, and the La Fortuna waterfall. On Saturday morning, we hiked about five miles near the volcano, then enjoyed a soak at Baldi Hot Springs in the evening. On Sunday, we traveled to the waterfall and hiked up and down 500 steps to take in the natural beauty. We stayed at a great Airbnb called the Sleeping Indian, which was colorfully painted with a tribute to The Beatles, and featured an indoor hammock, fun lights, and a variety of artwork. At a restaurant down the street called the Lava Lounge, I got to meet some really cute dogs, which was arguably the highlight of my weekend.

La Fortuna Waterfall

Part of The Beatles Mural

Our very athletic group of engineers attempting to take a jumping picture

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