User-Centered development of an Exorobot for fatigue-free Operations

How we progressed from early user interviews to the actual operating room.

To achieve optimal results for their patients, surgeons are often forced to adopt extreme and forced postures for hours. The consequences are frequently occurring musculoskeletal disorders. To address this issue, Hellstern medical developed noac – the ExoRobot for fatigue-free operations. The USE-Ing. experts accompanied this innovation from the early concept phase and supported the ergonomic and user-centered product development. A success story that was even awarded the Ergonomics Prize 2023.

Early identification of user needs through user research

The physiological relief provided by the ExoRobot is mainly achieved through the ergonomic support system, which positions the operator comfortably and securely. To develop this system, early user innovation sessions and user tests with experienced physicians from various disciplines, such as neurosurgery, gynecological surgery, or urological surgery, were conducted, and their requirements systematically captured. Through structured task analyses and the derivation of Use Scenarios, User Needs and Requirements were systematically collected and agilely reflected back into product development.

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Gaining ergonomic insights through role play with early prototypes

In these early phases, various low-fidelity prototypes and mockups were used to gain quick insights and resolve ergonomic questions. Through User Role Plays, the development team was able to understand usage context-based influences and derive user-friendly solutions.

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Summative user interface evaluation – Proof of safe and effective use of medical devices

IEC 62366-1 mandates the summative evaluation of usability in the form of a so-called Usability Test. By recruiting medical professionals (surgeons and surgical assistants), hazard-related use scenarios with representative users could be realistically tested in a simulated operating environment. Through systematic identification and analysis of occurring Use Errors, the safe and effective use of the medical device was ultimately validated.

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Summative Usability Test_Hellstern_1

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The Result – Aesthetic design meets excellent ergonomics

The development team succeeded in creating noac, the ExoRobot for fatigue-free operations, an exceptional and highly innovative medical product. A success story that was even awarded the Ergonomics Prize 2023 by the Ergonomics Competence Network e. V. USE-Ing. is proud to have contributed a small part to this and, in the process, to have once again implemented the mission of technology development for and with people.

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