Hi-tech headgear designed at Birmingham City University could make it easier for surgeons to perform life-saving operations on babies and small children.
Experts at the university have developed a lightweight model which will undergo trials at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The prototype, which is designed for surgeons to wear in theatre, is 70 per cent lighter than those currently in use.
In addition, the kit is wireless which means surgeons won’t have lots of cables trailing behind them while they carry out intricate procedures.
The new headgear features magnifying lenses, camera and lights which are aligned in seconds to the surgeon’s head by using a 3D scan; current models can take up to 15 minutes to be fitted correctly, adding extra time to an operation.
The new model was developed over two years during which use of the current headgear was analysed.
Birmingham City University graduate Daniel Harbin, supervised by his tutor David Jones, interviewed several different surgeons.
Daniel said: “It became obvious that the surgeons would benefit greatly from a combination of reduced weight and better fit, with fixing which didn’t constrict the head muscles and tissues through clamping.”
Discussions with manufacturers are taking place, with a view to making bespoke and fully adjustable models.
Meanwhile, clinical trials are due to commence in the next few months, with four more headsets being made for surgeons at the hospital.
John Kirk, the University’s head of business partnership and knowledge transfer, said: “This is an exciting collaboration between the University and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. It shows what we can achieve when we apply first-class design, technologies and materials to a long-standing problem.”