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BME Undergraduates’ Invention Finds ‘Lost’ Orthopedic Screws

December 3, 2007

Inspired by the device used to find lost
coins in the sand, Johns Hopkins undergraduates have invented a small
handheld metal detector to help doctors locate hidden orthopedic screws
that need to be removed from patients’ bodies. The device emits a tone
that rises in pitch as the surgeon moves closer to the metal screw. It also
serves as a surgical tool to guide the removal of the hardware.

The prototype, devised and built over the past school year by eight Johns
Hopkins biomedical engineering majors, was unveiled at the
university’s BME Design Day event.

Surgical Transformations, a
Manhattan-based company that sponsored the project, has applied for a
provisional patent covering the invention and is moving it toward further
refinement, clinical testing and possible sale to doctors in the coming
years.