Technology Generator

Orthopaedic International Inc
Project Leader: Jude L. Sasing

The Problem

Magnetic tracking is a decades-old technology that has applications in military weapons systems, virtual reality devices, and research instruments. The technology has also proven its use in the field of medicine. Magnetic tracking is used in computerized surgical navigation systems and eliminates the need for a line of sight or a physical connection between the object being tracked and the tracking device. It is used in distal targeting specifically for intramedullary (IM) nails, which are long metal rods with screw holes at both ends and are surgically used to treat long bone fractures. Previously, locating or targeting distal screw holes during surgery has been technically challenging as the holes can only be visualized through the use of expensive C-arm x-ray machines. The distal targeting procedure, if performed unsuccessfully, may result in medically-induced complications, such as misdrilling/malplacement of IM nails, risk of infection, delayed/non-union of fractured bones, and even refracture.

In response to this concern, a number of magnetic tracking devices and new techniques with different component configurations and software algorithms have been developed and patented. However, existing magnetic tracking methods and devices still use complex algorithms and the equations for determining position and orientation through these systems remain very complicated and hence, difficult to solve. There is, therefore, a need for a simplified magnetic tracking system.

The Solution

The Orthopaedic International Inc. (OII), through the funding support provided by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), was able to design and develop a simplified magnetic distal targeting device. This is an output from OII’s PCHRD-funded project entitled, “Development of a Magnetic Distal Targeting Device for Intramedullary Nails” that is being led by Mr. Jude L. Sasing. The device is a unique and low-cost magnetic tracking device with a simplified tracking method.

The device requires only a simplified algorithm and can be operated using microcontrollers with low computing power. The device’s electronic circuit is also relatively simple and can be implemented using low-cost off-the-shelf components. These innovations simplify the magnetic tracking device and significantly reduce its cost.

The development of the magnetic distal targeting device makes the performance of distal targeting a lot easier and less costly. As it eliminates the need for an expensive C-arm x-ray machine, distal targeting can be performed even in hospitals that do not have the said equipment. Through a simplified algorithm, the procedure can be performed easily without exposing surgeons, medical staff, and patients to x-ray radiation.

Product Development Stage

The technology is currently at technology readiness level (TRL) 4. It is undergoing lab-scale prototype development. Patent and PCT applications for the technology are already filed. The technology owners are open to licensing negotiations with interested partners once the device is ready for commercialization.

Contact Person

Jude L. Sasing
Orthopaedic International, Inc.
No. 9 West Road, Light Industry and Science Park 1, Special Economic Zone, Cabuyao, Laguna, Philippines 4025
Phone: +63 2 8-885-7281

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