24 February 2021—Granby FRP, a sister company based in Waverley, Nova Scotia, participated in the manufacturing process of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) simulator for children. The project was organized in partnership with the IWK Health Centre’s Department of Pediatrics and the Faculty of Engineering at Dalhousie University.
Granby FRP’s role
The company operates in the liquid heating fuel industry, manufacturing fiberglass tanks for residential use. A student—who also works part-time at Granby FRP—is the reason behind the plant’s participation to the project. The student thought the fiberglass tanks manufacturer would be a great fit for the job, thus presented it to Troy Rondeau, Plant Manager of Granby FRP. The latter—also coordinator for the project—mentions how excited the team was to be involved, especially since it was for the children’s hospital.
The company therefore brought expertise, material, and workforce to the table. The production team manufactured and assembled the simulator’s panels, and carried out sanding, body work, and finishing coat tasks.
MRI: Short for Anxiety
One of the main challenges with children and MRIs is that they have great difficulty remaining immobile for the entire process. Hospitals can be very daunting, and MRIs can be a great source of anxiety for toddlers. Many factors come into play, such as the machine’s intimidating appearance, its deafening sound, and its confined space. Oftentimes, toddlers are too anxious and are forced to complete the MRI under anaesthesia, which means an extensive waiting list.
Two Birds One Stone
Coleen Rollings, Project Manager at IWK Health Centre and Engineer-in-Residence at Dalhousie University, mandated an engineering team of students to design and build a realistic MRI simulator as part of their final project. The simulator is intended to reduce patients’ anxiety and help them overcome their fear prior to the MRI. Rollings expects a reduced number of patients in need of anaesthesia, as well as a decreased amount of time spent in the room.
The simulator’s manufacture took longer than predicted due to unforeseeable challenges. The team of students notably had to pause the production entirely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MRI simulator was however fully completed in fall 2020, and currently stands proud in the waiting room of the Department of Pediatrics…
It unsurprisingly fits in very well with the space technology theme!