Friday, October 16, 2015

News: Academic interns handed enterprise challenge at Medical AMRC

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Ten student interns are hoping to make a difference to the lives of many by developing new and innovative orthopaedic medical devices whilst on a paid-internship with the University of Sheffield's Medical Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

The AMRC is a world class centre for advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It secured funding to move into new areas and the Medical AMRC ensures the results of internationally significant research are developed into products and brought to market quickly and cost effectively.

Based in the centre's Design, Prototyping & Testing Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, the Medical AMRC sits alongside the current AMRC and has access to all the current resources but with a dedicated team which will specifically focus on the medical technologies sector.

This year it has taken on twice as many interns, who have split into two student enterprises, allowing them to develop ideas for innovative medical products and giving them the opportunity to improve valuable practical engineering skills, boosting their employability.

Each team has been set a challenge to research and develop an orthopaedic medical device for an unmet clinical need, as identified by two orthopaedic surgeons from Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.

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Derek Boaler, head of the Medical AMRC and Design and Prototyping Groups at the AMRC, said: "We are hoping for great things this year as we have recruited two really strong teams and anticipate this will create an element of competition between the two to see who develops the best product.

"We hope working so closely to meet the needs of clinicians will give their work a strong direction, designing solutions for real-life problems the NHS want solving."

The internship attracted a diverse group of students, 20 year old Jacob Weinstock came to Sheffield from Brunel University in London where he is studying for a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He said: "I was looking for an internship for my placement year and found that the AMRC is not just part of the university campus, its offsite and has a worldwide reach. It’s a big place to work and has great capabilities. I wanted the opportunity to work somewhere unique within the UK."

Before studying product design at Sheffield Hallam University, 20 year old Jack Appleyard wanted to be a doctor: "I think having the opportunity to combine the design side with the medical side was an opportunity I didn't really want to pass up on.

"I can bring two interests that I have together and hopefully it will allow me to explore the route more throughout the later stages on my career."

James Morgan, 20, another Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Sheffield, said: "I want what I work on to make the world a better place; you can do that through medical engineering. You can improve the outcomes of a patient's medical treatment, ultimately improving the quality of people's lives."

By the end of the internship both teams will have manufactured a pre-production prototype of their medical device, to be marketed to the healthcare industry. They follow in the footsteps of Medical AMRC's first five interns, who in July this year unveiled the ContraWear Hand & Wrist. The portable device is the first of its kind; a wearable medical device using contrast therapy in order to help alleviate pain, stiffness and inflammation in the joints and muscles.

Medical AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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