GVSU Group Helps Develop Surgical Training Device

Feb 2, 2018

GVSU AMDI helps develop surgery device
Credit GVSU / gvsu.edu

A Grand Valley State University group worked with a local inventor and alumnus to help develop a first of its kind device that can improve the way surgeons are trained for spinal procedures. 

“It’s been mind blowing. Let’s just put it that way.”

That’s Jim TenBrink, Grand Valley Alum and inventor of the S 2 T Surgical Smart Trainer, talking about the experience he’s had in developing this new device and working with folks at the applied Medical Device Institute at Grand Valley.   TenBrink is the co-founder of Encoris, a Holland based company that designs and manufactures medical models and surgical trainers for medical device companies around the world.  TenBrink says there was a challenge with the first model or prototype… but then he joined forces with Grand Valley.

“Meeting AMDI and Brent’s team. You know I tease them about this, but I just felt like, genius just oozing. Here you have high level folks, just super smart. It was just a very good marriage from the get-go.”

So… what is the S 2 T Surgical Smart Trainer?  I asked Jim to tell us in layman’s terms.   He says this surgical training device has the potential to solve many issues, such as high exposure to radiation and logistical and costly challenges of using cadavers.

“So basically, the primary forms of surgical training, often involved cadavers and with cadavers you need x-ray.  So, the smart trainer, is a trainer, that is a realistic representation of the torso with the spine, that allows surgeons to do spine surgery, as if they were in an operating room.”

Not only that, but TenBrink says the smart trainer also helps to make the process safer…

“One of the major advantages of the smart trainer is to mitigate the exposure to radiation. Why does one need to expose themselves to radiation during the training process or as much as they are today. So year, I would say it’s definitely going to save lives.”

TenBrink says the Smart Trainer is currently with AMDI on Medical Mile. It’s in the product development cycle.  He says it’s expected by March or April that they’ll likely be looking at putting it into production and starting the sales process.