Ergonomic Surgical Searching Tool (ESST)

Ergonomic Surgical Searching Tool (ESST)


Ginny Foster
Electrical & Computer Engineering

Krishi Peddada
Biomedical Engineering

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The timely detection and removal of foreign objects in the human body is a trying process for even the most advanced medical personnel.  Current imaging technologies are often expensive and offer only a limited two-dimensional view of the inside of the human body.  The lack of depth perception leads surgeons to fumble around with their grasping devices.  This leads to extra time in the operating room and more patient tissue damage.   The Ergonomic Surgical Searching Tool (ESST) is a device that offers an efficient and practical solution for these surgeons.

ESST functionally operates by the same principles as a metal detector.   The vibrations of two coils relative to each other produce a beat frequency in the human audible range.   When a metallic foreign body enters the proximity of the detection system, its magnetic field interferes with that of the two search coils. The difference is perceived as an increase in the beat frequency.  The use of a low-power audio amplifier allows a surgeon to understand the relative position of a foreign body.

By implementing beat-frequency metal detection technology in a hemostat, ESST informs a surgeon of his/her position relative to the foreign body at all times.   Moreover, the audio output that is delivered to a surgeon is easy to interpret even for one with little medical training.  Furthermore, the relatively inexpensive circuit equipment makes it easy to mass produce and market.