Design of instruments for veterinary interventions

If you are looking for a challenging assignment that combines bio-inspiration with actual animals, I have currently multiple projects available directed towards veterinary research. The projects are in collaboration with the Rotterdam Zoo and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University Utrecht. Projects are aimed at surgical interventions of different types of animals, including elephants, rhinos, birds, and horses. A selection of the projects is illustrated below:

– Suturing abdomen of larger animals

Suturing of the abdomen of larger animals is difficult and often results in ripping along the suture line due to the large force on the stitches. This ripping will in most cases lead to death of the animal. Since operations, such as caesarean sections, can be necessary at time to safe both the mother as well as the offspring, a solution should be found for this problem.

– Trachea occlusion removal device

Birds often have long flexible necks. Sometimes, a fungus infection can cause a localised inflammation in the trachea, causing a pasty mass. This mass can grow into a larger thrombus-like clot in the trachea, causing severe dyspneu and finally the death of the bird. To remove this occlusion, there are currently no easy tools available that can reach the occlusion site. Therefore, a device should be developed.

– Abscess removal device in the feet of elephants and rhinos

Due to the use of hard and straight concrete floors in many zoos, rhinos and elephants can develop foot problems. These problems start at an early age, as the sole surface of the foot becomes flat instead of showing the typical skin pattern as is normally seen in wild rhinos. Because of this, rhinos easily develop foot lesions that can result in large abscesses on the dorsal side of the foot. The current treatment tools to remove this abscesses are not optimal. Therefore, a redesign is necessary.

– Design of an stand-up aid for horses after surgery

When horses suffer a bone fracture, the bone needs to be surgically stabilised using screws and plates. In many cases this is done successfully. However, after the horse wakes up after surgery, they are often very tense and tend to panic, which can result in refracture of the bone. The goal of this project is to design a device that can help the horse to stand up safely after the surgery.

Contact: Aimée Sakes, a.sakes@tudelft.nl