Break and Make

Designing a Self-Adjusted Automated Linear Distractor


Member profile details

Membership level
2011-2012 Team
Team Name
Break and Make
Project Title
Designing a Self-Adjusted Automated Linear Distractor
Design Challenge
Currently, there are many children affected by bone deformity due to infection, trauma or congenital causes. In order to address this medical condition, a treatment called distraction osteogenesis implements a device called a linear distractor to slowly separate bone after it has been surgically broken. While the device succeeds in regenerating bone between broken ends, the process is currently very error prone.

Our challenge is to develop an automated linear distractor that can facilitate the process of bone growth for the patients, and thus save them both time and money.
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Design Summary
The approach we are taking to solve this problem is to use a stepper motor to automate the distraction, and strain gauges to provide force feedback. A microcontroller will be used to interface the strain gauges and a stepper motor driver which drives the motor. The system will be powered by a battery pack and interface with the current OrthoFix device.

Our team has integrated the electro-mechanical components of the system to create an animal testing prototype. We have completed initial testing of the device on the thigh of a pig model at UT health center.

After more extensive pig testing, the device will need to be optimized to reduce size and weight in order to comfortably fit on a child’s humerus. This will be done by getting specialized components such as a custom motor and an integrated motor controller/driver system.
Chuck and Sharon Fox
  • Bioengineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Marcia O'Malley
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Dr. Gloria Gogola
Award(s) and Recognition
People's Choice Award, 2012 Rice Student STEM Research Symposium
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Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen - Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


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