During the Fall of 2013 I worked with a group of my colleagues to develop the textile component of a medical device that would become known as the Arbutus Drill Cover.

The Drill Cover is a sterilisable textile cover with an adaptor chuck which enables the use of a consumer power drill in an operating theatre without compromising the sterile field, improving access to higher quality fracture care in resource-limited settings.

In the early stages of the company I was responsible for the textile component of the device. This included determining technical requirements, sourcing fabrics, designing the sewing patterns in CAD (Sewing patterns, as it turns out, are almost identical to sheet metal patterns…), manufacturing prototypes, performing verification testing, performing handling studies, and manufacturing the first batch of devices for field trials.

The Drill Cover would ultimately cost two orders of magnitude less than a commercially available surgical drill, be more serviceable, and enable access to safer surgery in settings which may otherwise go without.

The impact of this work is largely summarised in:

Buchan, L. L., Black, M. S., Cancilla, M. A., Huisman, E. S., Kooyman, J. J., Nelson, S. C., & Blachut, P. A. (2015). Making Safe Surgery Affordable: Design of a Surgical Drill Cover System for Scale. Journal of orthopaedic trauma29, S29-S32.