Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Snazzy" Stellaris : a combination of form and function

Most of us are used to the drab, boxy looks of surgical, medical equipment. One does not commonly associate the word "Snazzy" with a piece of equipment used for Cataract Surgery .

However Bausch & Lomb , a company based in Rochester, New York seems to have uniquely married form and function in their new "Stellaris Vision Enhancement System". It sure made the writers at the venerable The Economist go ga-ga and describe it as a "snazzy" piece of equipment:

The novelty of Stellaris—which is made by Bausch & Lomb, a company based in Rochester, New York—is that all the pieces of kit are pulled together into a single snazzy piece of equipment. The system can extract lenses, keep the eyeball inflated, and inject lenses in several different ways. The Stellaris has options to use an older or a newer surgical technique, depending on the surgeon's preference.

To read more about the revolutionary technology behind this which will greatly facilitate cataract surgery, follow the link :

The eyes have it
Dec 6th 2007
From The Economist print edition
Medical technology: The techniques used to replace worn-out eye lenses are getting better, making the process simpler than ever

6 comments:

Praphul said...

I remember reading this is in the latest Economist. I was reminded of some equipment made by an ex client - Electrocom Automation, TX (I guess its now a part of Siemens) in the early 90s. This device was an intelligent pill dispenser meant for placement at a nursing station at hospitals.
Not active in the healthcare space till recently, I'm curious how device design has evovled beyond the functional.
A recent remark by my 7yr old son on the use of cartoon characters on BandAid, made me wonder if there is any work being done in making a dentist's chair & accompanying equipment look less scary to a child

Praphul said...

I remember reading this is in the latest Economist. I was reminded of some equipment made by an ex client - Electrocom Automation, TX (I guess its now a part of Siemens) in the early 90s. This device was an intelligent pill dispenser meant for placement at a nursing station at hospitals.
Not active in the healthcare space till recently, I'm curious how device design has evovled beyond the functional.
A recent remark by my 7yr old son on the use of cartoon characters on BandAid, made me wonder if there is any work being done in making a dentist's chair & accompanying equipment look less scary to a child

Deepak Seth said...

Here's how a friend of mine described it :

Very cool, it’s like the iPod of eye surgery. The eyePod?! ;-)

Pete Hamar said...

Pete Hamar wrote:

Deepak, the B&L engineers really raise the bar with this design, it's beautiful.

As technology has advanced, it has become more available, making competent designs easier to achieve. So.. it's no longer an easy thing to sell a piece of equipment solely on specsmanship since the customer has reasonable expectation of his technical needs being met by a range of offerings.

Form has become every bit as important because of the image projected by the manufacturer and bestowed on the equipment owner. i.e. you can't promote your tools as being current state of the art, or even visionary if they look like they were designed in the 60's. For the end user, having a piece of equipment such as the stellaris in their suite imparts an air of expertise and competence. Approaching me with a piece of equipment like the stellaris tells me that you are current in your field, technically competent, and worthy of my business.

In many cases, this level of form is achieved at the risk of greatly increased cost, both non-recurring and recurring. Clearly the problem of embarking (or not) on such a design is assymetrical in nature. I would be interested to hear how your company waded through this decision making process.

Anonymous said...

No matter how an expert has been trained, be it through years of medical school with stoggy, clunky instrumentation or in a poor academic lab with last-decade's technology, that expert is still a person.
People's brain space is largely dedicated to sight. Combine that Nature with the Nurture in American culture to have the latest, to be the first, to be cool, to be sexy, to have the most and you get SEXY no, SNAZZY, surgical equipment.
I've got to tell you, as a patient, I'd feel more comfortable with this thing inflating my eyes (not kidding) than an beige footstool-looking-thing with fist-sized dials from 1950s televisions. This snazzy instrument may well well snag more clients. In the end, snazzy = money.

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