Neuro7 Neurological Testing Device
For the Neuro7, a “physician’s swiss army knife,” the client came to us with a prototype that we had to take and make it manufacturable, functional, fitted with all the tools the doctor will need, and aesthetically pleasing.
Product Website: http://www.neuro7.com/
Product Video: link
Client: J & R Enterprises Inc., Billings, Montana
Product: Neuro 7 “Physician’s Swiss Army Knife”
Product Type: Medical Device
Target Markets: Medical students, physicians and other medical personnel
Creative Engineering’s Challenge:
Turn a basic prototype design into a compact, manufacturable device that has a sleek and modern look.
Must include 8 different tools and 9 different functions in an all-in-one device that is:
Easy to clean
Small enough to fit in a pocket
Meets OSHA standards regarding blood borne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials
Meets “sharp object” requirements
“Creative Engineering was fantastic! They spoiled us. We were shocked when we began working with other vendors who didn’t set timelines or keep us in the loop at every stage of the process like they had. Creative Engineering set the bar so high that most other vendors can’t reach it.”
Creative Engineering Helps J & R Enterprises Cross the Finish Line with a Product a Decade in the Making
Dr. James Boslough was a medical student when he first began shopping for an all-encompassing diagnostic tool to replace the dozens of tools he had to carry around to perform neurological assessments — a series of questions and tests used to check a patient’s brain, spinal cord and nerve function. He never found one. As an emergency room physician, Dr. Boslough spent years dealing with the inconsistent performance and inconvenience of separate brushes, pins and penlights to perform neurosensory exams. With no options to purchase an all-encompassing tool, Dr. Boslough decided he needed to create one of his own. He turned to his friend Rick Lubkeman to help him create a tool that would aid medical professionals all over the world. Lubkeman, who was also in the medical field and had a bit of experience in the tool and die industry, went to work creating a drawing of their all-in-one neurological sensory device.
“The first one looked like a Volvo,” says Dr. Boslough. “It was big and boxy. We knew we needed to partner with an engineer who could turn this into something.”
And they did. In fact, Dr. Boslough and Lubkeman had several partnerships with various engineers who either couldn’t get the work finished or couldn’t bring in enough of the “cool factor” the product needed in order to sell. After years of failed attempts to produce the perfect tool, they decided to find an engineering firm with more experience and the ability to drive the project home. They performed a simple Web search and found Creative Engineering. Especially impressed with the Web site case studies about the Ottobot robot and the mechanical intravenous infusion pump Creative Engineering designed, they gave them a call.
“We were playing around with design for 9 years. Within two weeks, Creative Engineering set up an online WebEx meeting to go over their creative concepts. They presented us with about six different images – most of which we liked,” says Lubkeman “We knew immediately that we had chosen the right engineering partners. We were blown away. It was tough to choose just one of their concepts.”
Steve Remy was the Creative Engineering project lead who worked with J & R Enterprises.
“Jim and Rick came to us with a basic prototype that had some of the key features they needed, but was not engineered for production or designed for usability. They spent a lot of time, money and energy getting it to where it was and they were determined to finish the project once and for all,” says Remy. “We were able to give them our full attention, efficiently and effectively solving their problem, and helping them get this product to market looking and performing the way they wanted it to.”
Once Dr. Boslough and Lubkeman settled on a concept, Creative Engineering laid out a timeline. Regular online meetings were scheduled to show the project’s progress. Creative Engineering used Pro/ENGINEER, a computer aided design (CAD) program, to create the three dimensional models that could show functional aspects of the product’s design. Pro/ENGINEER made it easy to point out design details and make changes in real time during the online meetings.
Between meetings, Creative Engineering stayed in communication, letting Dr. Boslough and Lubkeman know where the project was and how new changes would affect the timeline.
While Remy was the project lead, Creative Engineering took a team approach to J & R Enterprises’ project. Bob Marvin, an industrial designer, was brought in to give the device the look Dr. Boslough and Lubkeman desired. Marvin provided numerous packaging options from which they could choose.
“Creative Engineering was able to take our product ideas and turn it into something better — something that worked. They were able to solve our problems and clear up the engineering flaws. We’re thrilled with the product they helped create for us,” say Lubkeman.
With the product housing made from injection molded polycarbonate plastic and most of the other parts in stainless steel, the Neuro 7 is a little smaller than a typical television remote control and meets sanitation and “sharp object” regulations.
Reflex hammers made of thermo plastic elastomer and embedded into the body
LED light with a momentary switch for testing, powered by a replaceable A23 fully-charged battery
Pain sensation testing instrument made of stainless steel that can be easily cleaned and covered with disposable plastic tips. Tips offer hands-free removal
Variable two-point adjustable discriminator ranging from 4 millimeters to 20 millimeters
Plantar stimulation edge with the protruding end of the Neuro 7’s pocket
Replaceable plastic medical pinwheel
Light-touch testing brush that retracts for easy storage
10-gram monofilament with disposable monofilament
At this time, there are 400 Neuro 7s in the market, with many medical centers having placed repeat orders once they received their first shipment. The product has received rave reviews at the American College of Emergency Physicians Conference and at the American Association of Neurologist Conference, and J&R Enterprises has begun talks with the Department of Defense about use in the military.
To see an online demo of Neuro 7, go to http://www.neuro7.com and click “view the video demo now” link.
Dr. James Boslough and Rick Lubkeman of J & R Enterprises say they would recommend Creative Engineering to anyone. Not only were they happy with the final product, but they say Creative Engineering was extremely enjoyable and easy to work with.
They tell prospective clients they can expect these three attributes if they choose Creative Engineering:
Honesty: “They told us we’d be responsible for the cost of prototypes and gave us a quote for engineering services — and that’s exactly what it cost. There were no surprises. They were organized and stuck to their timeline.”
Reliability: “I always knew where the project was. Creative Engineering tells you exactly what you can expect if you alter specs or choose one direction over another. They tell you how it will affect delivery time and cost.”
Creativity: “Just like their name says… you’ll get unique insight and great ideas.”