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Origami in the Operating Room: BYU Biomedical Research Featured on WebMD

Origami might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about life-saving innovations in biomedical engineering, but its principles have been making waves in the field. The biomedical engineering labs here at Brigham Young University have made valuable contributions to products using the practice of origami, and were featured in an article recently published on WebMD.

Described in the article written by Andee Hochman as “a marriage of art and engineering”, integrating the simple designs of origami means less moving parts and therefore less opportunities for bacteria to gather in hinges and joints. This also lowers manufacturing costs.

It features the work of former graduate student Holly Greenberg in 2010, along with professors Larry Howell and Spencer Magleby, on the creation of an origami-style “bellows.” This device could provide a sterile sheath for the curved arm of an X-ray machine as it was pivoted in different directions.

“The same principle could be used to make a tiny instrument for laparoscopic surgery, operated with a cable to pinch closed for insertion, then opened and manipulated once inside the body,” Hochman explains. “The BYU team called it an oriceps (origami-inspired surgical forceps).”

Visit the full WebMD article to learn more about amazing medical innovations using the principles of origami.