Michael Akalou – Independent Project

Michael Akalou – Independent Project

Class of 2017

Introduction to Topic

The overall topic of my project was prosthetics. I chose this field because I was interested in the process of how practitioners create, design, and build prosthetic limbs essentially giving someone the ability to walk again.

Project Description

My project was shadowing 70 hours at real life prosthetics along with creating an innovation based on what I saw could be an issue that could be fixed while shadowing. As I was shadowing I noticed there can be a lot to improve on in this field but the topic I chose to orient my innovation around was the safety of the patients. My innovation is an emergency button software that’s built into the prosthetic of the patient. If the prosthetic breaks or malfunctions and the user doesn’t have anybody around them to help they’ll safely get the assistance need by emergency services when the button is pushed to get them help. As I was shadowing, I saw many things in my mentors that I didn’t think I was going to see. The biggest thing I saw though was patience. Prosthetic patients aren’t a very compliant demographic, I learned that sometimes patient just miss their appointments without calling and don’t listen to their practitioners when it comes to maintaining their prosthetic. Patients not showing up frustrated me a little when I was there, I can’t imagine how annoying it must be for my mentors to have their time wasted. Coming out of this experience though, I believe I’m more patient than I was when I first started. This experience has helped me and has given me attributes I will be able to use for the rest of my life.

Experience Description

To get my experience for my project I decided to shadow at Real Life Prosthetics in Abingdon. While shadowing at Real Life prosthetics my there was mainly four things that I watched/did while I was there. The first of the four was sitting in on patients while they were seeing Mr. Seeburg or Mr. Lattanzi. I liked this part of my shadowing a lot because I got to see the practitioners interact with and help their patients hands on and it was great being able to build relationships with patients. While some patients were great at listening and cooperating with their practitioner, some of them weren’t. I didn’t really know how non-compliant prosthetics patients could be until I started shadowing. My mentors told me that with prosthetics, most of the patients they deal with are non-compliant because they get to the point of needing a prosthesis by not listening to their doctors especially with diabetes patients (obviously this doesn’t apply for accidents). While shadowing, I also got to see how much experience you really need to be a good prosthetic practitioner. I really got to see how well my mentors knew their patients, I could see this because at times the patient would try to describe a pain or feeling in or near their prosthetic but not be able to explain it but my mentors would know what they were talking about and be able to treat the problem. There were also times while I was shadowing that my mentors would spend hours with patients trying to adjust their prosthetics without having the complete satisfaction and comfort from the patient, but eventually they would get the adjustment right. After seeing this, it showed me that on top of all the years of studying to go in this field, you learn along the way of what to do and what decisions you make. The years of studying can’t prepare you for when you have to make a decision that could be better for the patient, that’s on your experience and your judgment based on the work you’ve done in the field. Another one of the main activities I did while shadowing was watching my mentors work on prosthetic mods in the lab. This was cool because it showed the creative side of the field of prosthetics. I didn’t really know that a creative touch was needed to be a prosthetist which was cool to learn about. That last two of the four main activities while I did my shadowing were my notes/ journals, which I did while my mentors would do their notes after seeing patients, and discussing any questions I had about what I saw that day with my mentors. Overall, I really liked shadowing at Real Life Prosthetics, it was great experience that I found really interesting because there was always something cool that was being done. Whether it was seeing patients, designing prosthetics on the computer using the tracer cad software, or sculpting physical cast mods for prosthetics in the lab there was always interesting that I could help with or watch my mentors do which I really admired about working at Real Life Prosthetics. The experience I’ve gained from shadowing at Real Life Prosthetics I can now use for the rest of my life, throughout college and in future careers.

Innovation Description

My innovation is SmartTrak, an emergency button with a tracker that’s built into the side of prosthetics, so if a patient’s prosthetic malfunctions or breaks down they can press it and get help immediately. SmartTrak works by having the button notify emergency services, which will come immediately to the site of the patient to give them help and assist them. SmartTrak will also notify the patient’s prosthetics practitioner, this allows the practitioner to know that the patient will need to schedule an appointment as soon as possible and can allow them to make time in their schedule. Lastly, SmartTrak also notifies three contacts of choice for the patient (family, friends, loved ones). When SmartTrak is initiated by the patient a notification is sent to the phones of the practitioner and the three contacts of choice that reads “This is SmartTrak informing you that there is an emergency with the prosthetic of (patient’s name) at this location”.

What really sparked the idea of this innovation for me was when my mentor was telling me about a patient who’s prosthetic malfunctioned on them due to worn parts when they were in a grocery store. Luckily there were people around to help them up and get to their feet again but after hearing this story I thought “what if this happened in a place no one was around?”. This is when I got the idea my innovation, the purpose being to ensure that if someone’s prosthetic breaks down they will receive the proper assistance no matter what setting they’re in just by pushing the SmartTrak button.

Along with my physical innovation, there’s a graphic that shows the process of how SmartTrak works. It shows the three things that happen when SmartTrak is initiated with the first the being the emergency button getting pressed. Second, a notification is sent to emergency services, the user’s practitioner, and three contacts of choice along with their location. And finally, it states that emergency services can track the user and send help as soon as possible.

The materials used for the physical demonstration start with a below the knee prosthetic leg. This prosthetic consisted of a carbon fiber socket, a green pylon rod, and a rubber foot. For the materials of the innovation that’s built on the prosthetic are a plastic button, tape, and plastic box that slides open in the top. The purpose of the plastic box is to protect the emergency button from being pushed on accident, for instance it getting hit on a table or having it get in the hands of a little kid. We don’t want to send emergency services to any location if they aren’t needed as they could be helping someone who needs help. The plastic casing can slide off easily if there is an emergency and the user can access the button when needed.

The closest competitor to my innovation as far as function and purpose goes would be life alert. What’s different about my innovation though is that the demographic is prosthetic patients, which there really is no age range for, and life alert is targeted more for senior citizens. Life alert only notifies emergency services while my innovation notifies emergency services as well as the user’s practitioner and three contacts of choice.

The total time that went into my innovation was twenty hours. I spent one hour coming up with what area I wanted my innovation to be oriented in prosthetics and where my innovation would fit in prosthetics, which I chose safety. I spent two hours researching my idea to get background on it and to see how the technology would work, along with making sure my idea hadn’t ever been created before. I then spent two more hours discussing my innovation idea with my mentor and getting feedback. After that, I spent a total of two hours designing and sketching my innovation idea and how it would fit on a prosthetic. One hour was spent having my mentor critique my design and give me feedback on what could be done better in my sketches. After that, an hour was spent re-evaluating my design taking into consideration the critiques my mentor gave me. One hour was spent picking out prosthetic parts from the lab for the physical demonstration of my innovation. After that, an hour was spent going to Michael’s to get supplies for my innovation. Then, four hours were spent building my innovation and revising it to get the final product. Three hours were spent making the design for the canva graphic to go with my physical innovation and the another two hours were spent revising the graphic to make sure it effectively depicted the function of my innovation.

+ Project Topic

Introduction to Topic

The overall topic of my project was prosthetics. I chose this field because I was interested in the process of how practitioners create, design, and build prosthetic limbs essentially giving someone the ability to walk again.

+ Project Overview

Project Description

My project was shadowing 70 hours at real life prosthetics along with creating an innovation based on what I saw could be an issue that could be fixed while shadowing. As I was shadowing I noticed there can be a lot to improve on in this field but the topic I chose to orient my innovation around was the safety of the patients. My innovation is an emergency button software that’s built into the prosthetic of the patient. If the prosthetic breaks or malfunctions and the user doesn’t have anybody around them to help they’ll safely get the assistance need by emergency services when the button is pushed to get them help. As I was shadowing, I saw many things in my mentors that I didn’t think I was going to see. The biggest thing I saw though was patience. Prosthetic patients aren’t a very compliant demographic, I learned that sometimes patient just miss their appointments without calling and don’t listen to their practitioners when it comes to maintaining their prosthetic. Patients not showing up frustrated me a little when I was there, I can’t imagine how annoying it must be for my mentors to have their time wasted. Coming out of this experience though, I believe I’m more patient than I was when I first started. This experience has helped me and has given me attributes I will be able to use for the rest of my life.

+ Experience

Experience Description

To get my experience for my project I decided to shadow at Real Life Prosthetics in Abingdon. While shadowing at Real Life prosthetics my there was mainly four things that I watched/did while I was there. The first of the four was sitting in on patients while they were seeing Mr. Seeburg or Mr. Lattanzi. I liked this part of my shadowing a lot because I got to see the practitioners interact with and help their patients hands on and it was great being able to build relationships with patients. While some patients were great at listening and cooperating with their practitioner, some of them weren’t. I didn’t really know how non-compliant prosthetics patients could be until I started shadowing. My mentors told me that with prosthetics, most of the patients they deal with are non-compliant because they get to the point of needing a prosthesis by not listening to their doctors especially with diabetes patients (obviously this doesn’t apply for accidents). While shadowing, I also got to see how much experience you really need to be a good prosthetic practitioner. I really got to see how well my mentors knew their patients, I could see this because at times the patient would try to describe a pain or feeling in or near their prosthetic but not be able to explain it but my mentors would know what they were talking about and be able to treat the problem. There were also times while I was shadowing that my mentors would spend hours with patients trying to adjust their prosthetics without having the complete satisfaction and comfort from the patient, but eventually they would get the adjustment right. After seeing this, it showed me that on top of all the years of studying to go in this field, you learn along the way of what to do and what decisions you make. The years of studying can’t prepare you for when you have to make a decision that could be better for the patient, that’s on your experience and your judgment based on the work you’ve done in the field. Another one of the main activities I did while shadowing was watching my mentors work on prosthetic mods in the lab. This was cool because it showed the creative side of the field of prosthetics. I didn’t really know that a creative touch was needed to be a prosthetist which was cool to learn about. That last two of the four main activities while I did my shadowing were my notes/ journals, which I did while my mentors would do their notes after seeing patients, and discussing any questions I had about what I saw that day with my mentors. Overall, I really liked shadowing at Real Life Prosthetics, it was great experience that I found really interesting because there was always something cool that was being done. Whether it was seeing patients, designing prosthetics on the computer using the tracer cad software, or sculpting physical cast mods for prosthetics in the lab there was always interesting that I could help with or watch my mentors do which I really admired about working at Real Life Prosthetics. The experience I’ve gained from shadowing at Real Life Prosthetics I can now use for the rest of my life, throughout college and in future careers.

+ Innovation

Innovation Description

My innovation is SmartTrak, an emergency button with a tracker that’s built into the side of prosthetics, so if a patient’s prosthetic malfunctions or breaks down they can press it and get help immediately. SmartTrak works by having the button notify emergency services, which will come immediately to the site of the patient to give them help and assist them. SmartTrak will also notify the patient’s prosthetics practitioner, this allows the practitioner to know that the patient will need to schedule an appointment as soon as possible and can allow them to make time in their schedule. Lastly, SmartTrak also notifies three contacts of choice for the patient (family, friends, loved ones). When SmartTrak is initiated by the patient a notification is sent to the phones of the practitioner and the three contacts of choice that reads “This is SmartTrak informing you that there is an emergency with the prosthetic of (patient’s name) at this location”.

What really sparked the idea of this innovation for me was when my mentor was telling me about a patient who’s prosthetic malfunctioned on them due to worn parts when they were in a grocery store. Luckily there were people around to help them up and get to their feet again but after hearing this story I thought “what if this happened in a place no one was around?”. This is when I got the idea my innovation, the purpose being to ensure that if someone’s prosthetic breaks down they will receive the proper assistance no matter what setting they’re in just by pushing the SmartTrak button.

Along with my physical innovation, there’s a graphic that shows the process of how SmartTrak works. It shows the three things that happen when SmartTrak is initiated with the first the being the emergency button getting pressed. Second, a notification is sent to emergency services, the user’s practitioner, and three contacts of choice along with their location. And finally, it states that emergency services can track the user and send help as soon as possible.

The materials used for the physical demonstration start with a below the knee prosthetic leg. This prosthetic consisted of a carbon fiber socket, a green pylon rod, and a rubber foot. For the materials of the innovation that’s built on the prosthetic are a plastic button, tape, and plastic box that slides open in the top. The purpose of the plastic box is to protect the emergency button from being pushed on accident, for instance it getting hit on a table or having it get in the hands of a little kid. We don’t want to send emergency services to any location if they aren’t needed as they could be helping someone who needs help. The plastic casing can slide off easily if there is an emergency and the user can access the button when needed.

The closest competitor to my innovation as far as function and purpose goes would be life alert. What’s different about my innovation though is that the demographic is prosthetic patients, which there really is no age range for, and life alert is targeted more for senior citizens. Life alert only notifies emergency services while my innovation notifies emergency services as well as the user’s practitioner and three contacts of choice.

The total time that went into my innovation was twenty hours. I spent one hour coming up with what area I wanted my innovation to be oriented in prosthetics and where my innovation would fit in prosthetics, which I chose safety. I spent two hours researching my idea to get background on it and to see how the technology would work, along with making sure my idea hadn’t ever been created before. I then spent two more hours discussing my innovation idea with my mentor and getting feedback. After that, I spent a total of two hours designing and sketching my innovation idea and how it would fit on a prosthetic. One hour was spent having my mentor critique my design and give me feedback on what could be done better in my sketches. After that, an hour was spent re-evaluating my design taking into consideration the critiques my mentor gave me. One hour was spent picking out prosthetic parts from the lab for the physical demonstration of my innovation. After that, an hour was spent going to Michael’s to get supplies for my innovation. Then, four hours were spent building my innovation and revising it to get the final product. Three hours were spent making the design for the canva graphic to go with my physical innovation and the another two hours were spent revising the graphic to make sure it effectively depicted the function of my innovation.

By | 2017-05-15T15:31:02+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Biomed Capstone Project 2017|0 Comments

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