The patent's assignee for patent number 8653392 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to handheld medical instrumentation and, more particularly, to apparatus for facilitating actuation of handheld medical instrumentation.
"Typical methods of actuating medical handtools and/or laser handpieces may prevent or at least impede effective operation or optimal utilization of the instrumentation. For example, actuation of medical devices (e.g., cutters) in some situations such as in the context of dental laser procedures, e.g., operating within an oral cavity which can be particularly complex, may pose difficulties in relation to, for instance, a user needing to change her grip on a device and/or re-position the device without losing an ability to actuate the device.
"One known method of actuating a medical device includes disposing a finger switch on a side of the medical device (e.g., laser handpiece). Use of the finger switch, however, may prevent a user from readily changing a grip on the device and/or rotating of such a device while in use, thereby reducing the utility or usability of the device (e.g., laser).
"Switches configured for remote-actuation such as in the assemblage of a foot switch may in some environments address this problem, but at the expense of having to add yet further hardware (e.g. a foot pedal) to an array of components (e.g., switches) already in place for related or other applications. As great effort is expended to conserve real estate (e.g., floor and/or counter space) in most surgical/clinical operating rooms, such solutions may be met with reduced acceptance by users in the industry.
"A need thus exists in the prior art for a method of actuation of handheld medical instrumentation that allows, for example, for optimal and/or efficient repositioning of the instrumentation while in use without requiring the sacrifice of valuable operating-room space such as required by a foot switch. A further need exists for a method of actuation that permits optimal and/or efficient operation of the instrumentation in complex clinical environments."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention addresses these needs by providing a handpiece for medical instrumentation, the handpiece exhibiting circumferential geometry. The invention herein disclosed may comprise, according to one embodiment, an inner sleeve, an actuating outer sleeve disposed outside the inner sleeve, and an internal circuit to which contact with the inner sleeve can be controlled by an external force applied to at least a portion of the outer sleeve, the internal circuit being disposed inside the inner sleeve.
"According to another embodiment, the outer sleeve may comprise a plurality of ribs having a tactile feel, the ribs being disposed axially on the handpiece, and configured to apply force to a portion of the inner sleeve when the external force is applied to at least one of the ribs. As an example, the medical instrumentation may comprise a medical laser, and the internal circuit may be a flexible electronic circuit permanently attached over a core of a heat sink of the laser. Further, the inner sleeve may comprise an elastic membrane having a plurality of internal pads painted with conductive ink, the internal pads normally not making contact with the internal circuit. The internal pads may be correspondent with the ribs, and the internal pads may be disposed to make contact with the internal circuit when the external force is applied to at least one of the ribs.
"While the apparatus and method has or will be described for the sake of grammatical fluidity with functional explanations, it is to be expressly understood that the claims, unless indicated otherwise, are not to be construed as limited in any way by the construction of 'means' or 'steps' limitations, but are to be accorded the full scope of the meaning and equivalents of the definition provided by the claims under the judicial doctrine of equivalents.
"Any feature or combination of features described or referenced herein are included within the scope of the present invention provided that the features included in any such combination are not mutually inconsistent as will be apparent from the context, this specification, and the knowledge of one skilled in the art. In addition, any feature or combination of features described or referenced may be specifically excluded from any embodiment of the present invention. For purposes of summarizing the present invention, certain aspects, advantages and novel features of the present invention are described or referenced. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all such aspects, advantages or features will be embodied in any particular implementation of the present invention. Additional advantages and aspects of the present invention are apparent in the following detailed description and claims that follow."
For additional information on this patent, see: Berger, John; Boutoussov, Dmitri. Handpiece Finger Switch for Actuation of Handheld Medical Instrumentation. U.S. Patent Number 8653392, filed
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