As engineers and prototype developers, we don’t get a lot of downtime – and even when we do, we continue to work on our own product ideas! People think that we must get tired of it just because we do it day in and day out with our clients, but actually it’s a good opportunity to sit down with a blank sheet of paper and truly start from the beginning. Clients come in with ideas and plans, and of course we want to work with them to achieve their vision. So when we get that rare moment of free time, we really enjoy finding a problem to solve and starting with a completely blank slate. No matter how much we do it, we still find it to be an invigorating process.
We’ve been quite busy this year and haven’t had much time to develop anything outside of jobs for our clients until quite recently. During this unexpected free time, one of our engineers had an idea he wanted to explore – sharps protection. Sharps protection is a serious issue in the health care industry. Contracting diseases and/or infections from accidental sticks with contaminated syringes is a risk that health care providers face every day. Inventing a device to prevent an accidental stick is quite the challenge, and we were up to facing it. Shu Amano, one of our seasoned prototype designers, decided that a good solution might be to prevent the needle’s point from ever being exposed at all; his idea was for syringes to have bellows that would expand over the tip of the needle to prevent accidental contact. When the needle needed to be inserted into a patient or a vial, the bellows would retract. With that idea in mind, what we needed to figure out was how to prevent the tip from just popping out of the end of the bellows. As is par for the course here at Creative Mechanisms, Shu pulled the team together to see if we could brainstorm a way to make that work. Our teamwork yielded a solution in which the bellows extended past the tip of the needle and then tucked inside a ridge specifically designed to trap the needle. We realize this may sound complicated, but it’s really a simple and rather elegant solution to sharps protection. Check out the video we made to demonstrate how it works.
We wanted to protect our Intellectual Property (IP), of course, so this video, our line drawings, and a description of the product were sent to our patent attorney, who began the process of protecting our idea and patenting our product.
Developing products is what we do best. We tend to leave marketing up to others, so if anyone is interested in marketing this concept for us we’d love to hear from you! What we really wanted to show you, though, was how effective our process is and how advanced our capabilities are here are Creative Mechanisms.