The Raspberry Pi often makes the world a better place. This time, it’s helping to test 3D-printed stents using a smart stent-testing robot.
Stents are small tubes used to prop open a patient’s airway. They keep people alive, so it’s incredibly important they don’t fail.
In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires testing of each design by compressing it over 300,000 times. That’s a sturdy challenge for any human, which is why machines are normally used to mash up the stents.
Enter the Stent-Testing Robot, an intelligent arm that mashes stents while a Raspberry Pi Camera Module keeps a sharp eye on how it performs.
It’s designed by Henry J. Feldman, Chief Information Architect at Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians.
“We start with a CT scan of the lungs, and via a 3D reconstruction get the size and shape of the bronchus that we wish to stent open,” explains Henry. “The trick is to make it the exact shape of the airway.”
The challenge with testing is if stents start to fail before the end of the test. The dumb devices currently used continue to pulverise the stent when this happens.
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