Zurich - Researchers from the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) have developed a foldable applicator for the implantation of pacemakers. With 3Fold, the application time is significantly reduced and surgical hygiene improved. The 3Fold was named as the winner of the Design Prize Switzerland 2023.

A research group from the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) headed up by Laurin Schaffner and Benjamin Josi has developed the foldable surgical tool known as 3Fold for pacemaker implantations, further details of which can be found in a press release. 3Fold is made from the biosynthetic material Hylomate, which was developed by Hylomorph AG, based at the Technopark Zurich. Immediately before implantation, the pacemaker is covered with a layer of Hylomate and then inserted. Scar tissue on the pacemaker often leads to complications, but the Hylomate coating is intended to make such problems a thing of the past. The procedure is currently undergoing a clinical trial at the University Hospital Zurich (USZ), with approval for market launch expected to be secured in early 2024.

3Fold was named as the winner of the Design Prize Switzerland 2023 in the Product Design category. The instrument should shorten the application time from five minutes to just three seconds, as Design Prize Switzerland writes in its profile of the award-winning design. With this huge time saving, the operation should not only offer a more comfortable patient experience, but should above all also be significantly more hygienic and therefore present less of an infection risk. “The project is thus a statement for the interdisciplinary integration of design in development processes and shows that design has the potential to stimulate and promote innovation in a wide variety of fields”, according to the jury’s reasoning.

During the development process of 3Fold, the ZHdK researchers focused on the Define, Develop and Deliver aspects of the design process. In the “Define” stage, all of the surgeon’s necessary working steps were closely observed and analyzed, which allowed initial concepts to then be developed. These concepts were analyzed and tested during the “Develop” stage. Finally, prototypes were developed and tested as part of the “Deliver” phase, with alternative solutions also discussed at this point. ce/ww

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