Hydraulic systems, Orthopeic surgical devices and cardio vascular support
Engineering Consultant in medical technology
I’m an engineering consultant working on developing medical technolgy for international companies
As an engineering consultant I get to work on a wide variety of technologies from across the medical spectrum. While one day I might be working on a new technology to be used during surgery, the next I may be work on a new delivery mechanism for cancer treatment, on artifical heart valves the possibilities are endless.
Engineering consultants are mainly used by large technology companies when they don’t have the expertise themselves or need work done very quickly. This makes my job very fast paced and the work is constantly changing, this is brilliant as it prevents me from getting bored. While working on new technology we also get involved on how this technology might translate into a product, this means that while designing products we are always thinking of how things can be made in their hundreds and even thousands. We regularly work on the designs of clever mechanisms to provide innovative products like the one in the image below, which helps deliver a very fine drug powder into the lungs.
One of the most interesting products we have worked on is a machine used during liver transplant surgeries. When a patient needs a liver transplant, the donor liver might need to be transported from far away to get to the hospital. The old fashioned way of doing this was to place the liver on ice and drive it in a van (or fly it in a plane) to the hospital. This meant that by the time the liver got to the hospital it might no longer be useful. We worked with one of our clients to develop a device which not only transported the liver in ideal conditions, it also helped to re-build the liver during the transport so that when the liver arrives at the hospital it is in the best possible condition and is normally in a better conditon than when it was placed in the machine. This product helps save peoples lives and ensures that donor livers arn’t being wasted. What is great is that this device is being used in hospitals to make a difference to peoples lives.
I am really proud of where I work, the company is brilliant and we are very relaxed and we have a very diverse company with people of all different skills, I work in a large open plan office with a mixture of designers, engineering and biologists. There are about 85 people in our company and we work in an 800 year old barn in the Cambridge countryside, which is fantastic.
My Typical Day
Apart from consuming large amounts of coffee, my day is mainly spend designing or improving new technology
My typical day is hard to describe as I am not sure I have ever had a typical day.
I am a morning person, I normally cycle to work from central Cambridge through the villages to our office and I am normally at my desk at 8am. Although we have flexible working hours I like to be in early, that’s not true for everyone though and some people don’t show up until 10am! I work on the design of products, which could be using physics and mathematics to help my designs on the computer or it could be via experiments in the lab. I regally visit clients and as our clients are international this can require quite a lot of international travel. I would say that on a typical day I could be found sitting with a coffee in one hand pushing my computer to its limits with 3D modelling software, then using a 3D printer to print mechanisms for testing or experimentation.
What I'd do with the money
Help people understand engineering
I am always worried that school don’t do enough to explain engineering properly to schools. When I started to get interested in engineering people always used to say “You want to fix cars?” and I then had to explain how engineering was completely different. Engineering is such a wide field and is constantly developing and with the medical engineering sector growing at an alarming pace, I think that even just informing young people about engineering gives them the choice to consider it as a career. I wonder how many more engineers we would have if people fully understood the extent of engineering.
I would use the money to go into schools to fully explain engineering to young people to help them make better informed decisions when thinking about their career and if I can find enough people who are interested in learning more about engineering then possibly organising a trip up to our offices to learn more about the kind of engineering we do.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Inquisitive and curious, very curious… Oh no, that is five
Who is your favourite singer or band?
A very hard question but at the moment I would probalby say Vintage Trouble
What's your favourite food?
Oh I counldn’t choose just one…
What is the most fun thing you've done?
driven across Europe as part of a race in rusty £100 cars that kept breaking down
What did you want to be after you left school?
I’ve always wanted to be an engineer!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yep… the less said the better!
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
Worked closely within hosptials to help understand the health of patients
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
No idea, maybe an arcitect, but I am an engineer at heart
Tell us a joke.
Q: What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers? A: Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.
The sort of mechanisms we develop
I think this is one of our most insteresting projects
Our office in the Cambridgeshire countryside
This is a technology that I used to work in and is a very interesting example of how diverse engineering is. This is a pump which is designed to support the heart and help if pump blood around the body. The device is fully impanted into the patient and can help bring a patient from critial heart failure back to living a normal life.