The University of Minnesota’s Design of Medical Devices Conference is poised to to bring together medical device designers, researchers, manufacturers, and students to share perspectives and innovations in medical device design. This year’s event, which takes place April 9–12, 2018, will highlight the university’s advances in computational modeling, as well as the latest developments in digital health.

The conference consists of four-days of workshops, symposiums, scientific poster sessions and technical/scientific sessions, with topics such as advances in medical devices, cardiovascular engineering, computational modeling, virtual reality in medical devices, and more.

“The medical devices center and the computer science department just came off of a 3 ½ year NIH-NSF grant in computational modeling,” says Arthur Erdman, chair of the conference. He is a professor and director of design education and associate department head for the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the university. “We’ve developed a virtual prototyping system whose main purpose was to use computational modeling in visualization for doing preclinical for new devices.”

It’s a major research effort at University of Minnesota, which Erdman says is the driver behind its key role in the conference.

“We’ve also been interfacing off and on with FDA and MDIC for 12 years in this area. It’s an exciting and fast-moving area where the goals we share with FDA and others is to use more and more computational modeling as a precursor to approvals of new devices,” he says. “Our particular emphasis is on using advanced visualization methods for sorting through hundreds and thousands of potential solutions in a small amount of time.”

Although computational modeling is a strong focus of the conference, Erdman says the event has a lot to offer attendees. The Thursday session is always topical, and this year the focus will be on digital health. “We have a very comprehensive conference that’s soup to nuts. There are sessions that are strictly engineering, science, and emerging technologies, but we also have translational sessions and purely clinical sessions.”

Erdman also notes that this year a special session will discuss the separation of conjoined twins, which took place last year at the university. “That session will be very heartwarming. The twins were joined at the liver, heart, and lungs. Our 3D virtual reality system (computational and visualization system) was used to sort through the CT scans, and a 1 mm vessel was found between the two hearts. That finding led the team to redo its surgical plan.

The conference is presented by the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center (part of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine), the College of Science and Engineering, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It will be held at the Graduate Minneapolis (formerly The Commons Hotel) and McNamara Alumni Center, located on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus.

To register for the event, click here.