This project is an industrial design research case study for redesigning the orthopedic saw. It includes user interviews, visitations to cadaver labs to document the use of various tools in orthopedic surgeries, observing surgery documenting where each user is and their function, prototyping of proposed ideas/solutions etc.


Here I am visiting SpineFrontier where they design and manufacturer various medical devices to gain specs of the orthopedic saw in addition to a few lessons from Dr.Izzi in the cadaver lab. Dr.Izzi highlighted in the blue image an be seen showing various tool bits that they use for orthopedics that are the same ones that every individual that owns a power tool possess.

What is it for?

What procedures
is it used for?

When is it used for?

When is it used in
a surgical procedure?

Who uses it?

Who are all the people
it comes in contact with?

Time it's used?

How long is the tool in use?
What is the battery life?

Lay of the land

Surgical Nurse: (Secondary User)
Responsible for Prep, Assembly, Sterilization, Clean up.

Lead Surgeon: (Primary User)
Responsible for using the tool and requesting which attachment they will need.

Surgical Intern: (Primary User)
Responsible for handling tools under supervision of lead surgeon and for clean up.

Anesthesiologist: (Secondary User)
Responsible for the patient. Uses only monitors and machine for oxygen. Doesn't handle power tools.

Defining Pain Points

The hand to weight ratio was not balanced. The ergonomics of the tool made it a challenge to maneuver, and to keep it sterile they put it in a zip lock bag device which makes it difficult to grip.

Weight Ratio

Battery sits in a box at the bottom of the device resulting in an unequal hand to weight ratio.

Tool Efficiency

Improvising because tools don't work as efficiently.


Doesn't act like an extension of the hand. It's clunky and uncomfortable to hold.


Lacking a proper solution to keep the device sterile.

Opportunities Areas


"It should feel natural, both how it fits within the hand and the weight to hand ratio."


"The tools are essential for a positive patient outcome. Therefore, it must perform with high proficiency and accuracy."


"Normally new have a surgical nurse who assembles, preps, and cleans the tools."

After the visits to Spine Frontier and the teaching hospital in Boston where I viewed surgeries I began sketching and showed ten different sketch concepts to Dr.Izzi and the nurses that I had interviewed during the research process.


I developed prototypes of the designs they had approved in order to further flush out the ergonomics and size.


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