CRANIAL REMOULDING ORTHOSIS DEVELOPMENT
Partner - Invent Medical Group s.r.o. (IMG)
medical equipment and technology
In some newborns, particularly those born prematurely, skull deformities may occur in the first few months of their life. The standard medical treatment in these cases includes using plastic cranial orthoses. Apart from being relatively heavy, unattractive, and airtight, these orthoses need to be adjusted during the treatment so as to “grow” along with a child‘s head. These adjustments, as well as the initial production, are enormously time-consuming, and uncomfortable for paediatric patients. Invent Medical Group s.r.o. is a start-up company involved in the design and production of cranial orthoses using 3D printing technology. These orthoses are geometrically and functionally very complex, and their development is currently dependent on the experience of designers and health professionals. The cooperation between IT4Innovations and IMG aims to automate many of these manual procedures making the whole process simpler and faster.
Within the contract research projects, we focus on developing algorithms for automatic adjustment of cranial orthoses, application of optimization algorithms for finding the optimal head shape, and the use of numerical modeling methods for determining the orthosis stiffness. To guarantee the full functionality of orthoses it is necessary to determine their stiffness accurately, as this property critically affects the growth of a child‘s head to its desired shape. This stiffness is currently tested in the IMG laboratory using special devices. Testing must be performed for every new type of cranial orthosis, which makes its design considerably time-consuming and financially intensive. Within the cooperation between IT4Innovations and IMG, the laboratory experimental testing of orthoses has been replaced by numerical modeling methods using a supercomputer. The geometric model developed by the designers is automatically converted into a numerical model, which allows the orthosis deformation to be calculated for the required load. Based on these calculations, the final design is adjusted to fulfill the stiffness requirements, and the individual designs might also be compared.