Mearicle Vision

By the time students reach their Junior Year, capstone design is on everyone’s minds. Come the final year of college, students immerse themselves in designs, models, and prototypes, trying to perfect that one project that is the culmination and representation of their undergraduate study. Michael Wang, a fifth-year BME student at Georgia Tech, is one such example. Michael and his team, Mearicle Vision, are trying to create a product that will improve visualization of the middle ear in Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) surgeries.

The idea for this ambitious project came from another class that is quite popular among students: Medical Robotics with Dr. Jaydev Desai. Michael remembers feeling inspired by the surgeons who were invited to talk to the students about problems in medicine.

One talk in particular, given by Dr. Steven Goudy, an ENT surgeon at Emory University Hospital, stuck with Michael, who contacted him when it came to finalizing his team’s capstone project.

Dr. Goudy helped the team polish its idea, and assumed the role of faculty mentor for the project.  

The team began its work by surveying different hospitals to gain an understanding of the challenge that lay ahead of them. As part of the class, students need to conduct twelve user interviews before they started designing their product. This was not easy for Michael’s team because healthcare professionals are hard to come by. Yet, in three weeks, they spoke to surgeons, nurses, and salesmen about the problems plaguing the field of ENT surgery. They also observed a pediatric surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as part of their research. The team found some common problems: a large number of wires running in the O.R. help no one and do little to offer control over the equipment. Additionally, instruments often break during sterilization and block the field of view of the scopes.

These observations convinced Michael and his team to take on the ambitious project of developing a scope to improve visualization of the middle ear without compromising on efficiency and user convenience. They want their product to cater to all patients: adults and children. Over the next few weeks, they aim to brainstorm ideas and come up with preliminary designs of their envisioned product.

Edited by: Hyatt Bao