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Neck vertebrae fixation without screws

„Crano - eine Cervikalorthese“, Julia Hanisch and Timo Wurz, Hochschule für Gestaltung in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany


Patients suffering from a damaged cervical spine due to fractures or sprains as they may occur in traffic accidents for example have to permanently wear a halo fixator for approximately 15 weeks. It consists of a head-ring, a corset vest, and four supports, which connect the head-piece to the corset vest. Every two to three weeks the physician checks whether the screws, which are attached to insensitive areas at the forehead and the back of the head, are in the right position. Only exact stabilisation of the cervical spine enables the injured bones to heal and can prevent deterioration that may lead to paraplegia in the worst case. The aim of the system developed by Julia Hanisch and Timo Wurz for their diploma dissertation handed in at the College of Design, University of Applied Sciences Schwäbisch Gmünd, was not only to look better, but also to function without head screws and be more comfortable to wear.


In the eyes of the jury, the two students have achieved their goal with the ‘Crano Fixator’. Instead of screws, a synthetic grid connects the head with the head-piece, which exerts outside pressure onto head areas preferably insensitive to pressure. The grid shape is calculated on the basis of CT data and can be individually adjusted. The pressure points can be changed during the course of treatment in order to relieve main arteries. Vest and screws function in a similar way, but are made of different materials – the vest, for example, is made out of a skin-friendly material –, are easier to adjust and sterilise. Stabilising the highly sensitive cervical spine without an operation was an ambitious project for the students and has lead to an outstanding solution: No additional stress due to anaesthesia or possible complications during an operation, no additional injuries of the patient and a significantly more comfortable time with the Fixator result in an enormous increase in patient satisfaction as well as lower treatment costs, explains Sylvia Deutschmann, managing director of the Life Science Agency.

Overview of concepts:


Decoding the sense of smell

„Vom Riechrezeptor zum Biosensor“, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Lehrstuhl für Zellphysiologie, Bochum, Germany


Neck vertebrae fixation without screws

„Crano - eine Cervikalorthese“, Julia Hanisch and Timo Wurz, Hochschule für Gestaltung in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany


Operating brains quickly

„LAXAR OP-System“, Andrea Feuerabend and Friedemann Schreiber, Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany


Natural contraception via skin reading

„ovu`love“, Wilddesign, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, and GEO-Design, Tokyo, Japan


Making cartilage grow and sponges disappear

„Innovatives 3D-Design von Biomaterialien für die Regenerative Medizin“, Matricel, Herzogenrath, Germany


Testing babies’ hearing

„OtoRead”, DESIGN/NORD, Denmark, and Interacoustics A/S, Denmark


Increased sensation with the lower leg prosthesis

„Otto Bock Harmony System“, Otto Bock Healthcare GmbH, Duderstadt, Germany


Memory aid for dementia sufferers

„Senso. My Personal Lifebook“, Pelin Celik and Pilotfish GmbH, Munich, Germany


Greater quality of life for pain patients

„Lockout System”, Ing. Erich Pfeiffer GmbH, Radolfzell, Germany, and item design & development, Ascheberg, Germany


Surgeons in cyberspace

„Sphere – ein OP Szenario“, piu products, Essen, Germany


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