A look at how COSM is tackling pelvic floor disorders with customized 3D printed prosthetics designed in Fusion 360 and printed on the Formlabs Form 3B.
Medical hardware is a fascinating fieId that merges design, engineering, material science, and application theory. Medical hardware needs to meet standards of efficacy and usability many designers would balk at if we had to achieve them for our products.
A disconnect exists in medical hardware, though. For example, you may be aware of the Da Vinci surgical robots, designed to aid surgeons on complex, delicate procedures where an unsteady hand can be the difference between life and death. But did you know that surgeons only actively use three of them globally?
The reason is simple: money. Hospitals work with extremely tight budgets, which rarely increase. So within the context of medicine, things are somewhat a zero-sum game. It’s the reason why your doctor still has a beeper, and their systems still use Windows 98. There are other priorities, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
COSM Medical is one of a handful of companies trying to solve this challenge. What’s the point of medical marvels if patients will never have access to them?
COSM is tackling the specific challenge of pelvic floor disorders. Pelvic floor disorders affect 10% of women ages 20-39, 27% of women ages 40-59, 37% of women over 60, and 50% of women over 80. Pelvic floor disorders are no joke. They cause all kinds of complications for women, not to mention the compounding risks of sicknesses in advanced ages.
Sounds pretty brutal, right? Now let’s talk solutions because COSM has buckets of them. The solution to pelvic floor disorders is both extremely simple and complex all at once: an intravaginal prosthetic. Think of it as an internal dam that helps what should be inside the body stay inside.
You can imagine what complexities come with such a device. Autodesk has a long history of supporting the prosthetic industry, so we know a thing or two about the intricacies of limb prosthetics. However, once you go internal with prosthetics, complexity skyrockets. Intravaginal prosthetics are currently available in over 100 shapes and forms, but the process of finding one that fits is trial and error. Imagine trying on 100 t-shirts to find the one that fits right. Now imagine doing that for something that has to go inside of you. It’s not exactly an enjoyable experience, and there’s no guarantee of finding one that fits.
COSM takes advantage of the latest advancements in ultrasound, AI, 3D printing, and of course, Fusion 360. By combining methods to map the human body’s interior, COSM can accurately represent each patient’s specific pelvic cavities so they can produce a prosthetic uniquely made for that patient. No more fitting sessions, invasive processes, or frequent visits to the doctor — just get that scan data and then receive your 3D printed prosthetic soon after.
COSM Medical is part of the Autodesk Technology Centers’ Outsight Network, which has provided the team with tools and support to help develop its novel system. At the top of the list of COSM’s needs was mass customization. Fusion 360 can achieve this thanks to parametric design, which features a single master form that can be manipulated to fit every patient. Robert Lancefield, Mechanical Engineer at COSM told us that part of the reason COSM standardized Fusion 360 was because their new hires experimented with the free version and saw the potential for continued use.
The Fusion 360 and Formlabs partnership also played an instrumental role in getting COSM off the ground. Formlabs bioprinters are capable of rapidly, accurately, and cleanly producing parts. The Formlabs Form 3B printer enabled COSM to quickly and easily make hundreds of products, each with different measurements to fit an individual patient’s body.
“Fusion 360 covers several steps in our process,” says Robert Lancefield, Mechanical Engineer at COSM. “It’s able to take in our sizing measurements from patients, and build a patient-specific model and mold for our device utilizing parametric modeling. It can then export our molds to load into Preform, so that it’s fast and easy to get our molds printed on the Form 3B. This entire process ensures the economic viability of our product in the long term by automating many steps in the custom device design process.”
The Formlabs Form 3B printer offers high-quality prints, a surface quality that requires minimal post-processing, and a tolerance that is so tight, the discrepancies are negligible for COSM’s application. “That’s helpful for us since we want close tolerances and consistent product properties,” Lancefield continues. “With the Form 3B’s resolution, we can vary our dimensions by a fraction of a millimeter in Fusion 360 to get the properties we need from our molds and final silicone parts.”
Formlabs positions the Form 3B machine as one of the most affordable bio-safe capable printers on the market that doesn’t compromise quality. The Form 3B enabled COSM to continue development in the early stages without incurring the costs, setup, and space that industrial printers typically demand.
Learn more about the Fusion 360 and Formlabs partnership here, and download Fusion 360 today to experience a streamlined 3D printing experience.