Surgeons earned their "sawbones" nickname by performing the grisly job of cutting off countless limbs during both wars and peacetime over the past centuries. Now, an open innovation contest with a Halloween deadline is looking for a high-tech surgical tool capable of cutting through bone without doing damage to neighboring human flesh.
Today's surgeons already have ultrasound bone saws capable of moving a serrated cutting edge at high frequency to do precise, controlled cutting of even the most delicate bones. But the bone saw contest asks for the creation of a special bone saw that can't cut through soft tissues such as muscle, skin or blood vessels — a requirement that may disappoint anyone with more ghoulish interests.
Existing surgical tools can occasionally cause bone splintering or cuts in soft tissue, depending on the type of tool and the operation.
The challenge first appeared on a crowdsourcing, open-innovation website called Innocentive in August. Perhaps coincidentally, the contest's deadline falls on Oct. 31.
If anyone ultimately claims the prize, he or she can feel good about helping to make medical practice a more humane, bloodless activity — one that Star Trek's Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy could be proud of.