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Colorado BioScience Association Features an Article on MicroFlex
February 25, 2008
Even at one millimeter wide, the MicroFlex isn’t the smallest surgical device in the world. But it might be the most flexible.
This concept product is a digitally-controlled endoscope, a version of the tubes used for minimally invasive surgery. The new tool might replace current rigid instruments. It resembles a miniature Slinky that can make hairpin turns inside the body’s tiniest organs with the push of a joystick.
“It’s a new leap forward in accessing difficult areas,” said CU Medical School’s Dr. Todd Kingdom, a sinus surgeon advising the project.
For Quest Product Development Corp., the MicroFlex represents one idea in the small company’s portfolio of multi-million dollar bets. While a CU Boulder aerospace engineer invented the device, and a doctor oversees its application, this Wheat Ridge contract engineering firm owns the license to commercialize it. Quest has won $1.5 million in federal funding to develop the MicroFlex protoype, and expects to win another $1 million in phase II SBIR grants.
Most contract engineering firms act as stage hands, helping inventors take their ideas to the opening night stage. But Quest has taken an intellectual property position in some technologies, licensing the rights to ideas ranging from space shuttle insulation to a heart rhythm measurement tool.