Platform 4: Design & Manufacturing


The Design & Manufacturing Technology Platform engages design to generate novel user-focused applications of technologies developed within the CoRE. This will lead to innovative high-value, advanced medical devices, systems and services in collaboration with patients, clinicians, science, engineering, design and industry partners.

A specific strength in this Platform is the Smart Interaction Design (SID) programme, which refers to human-device interactions in which medical devices can react in “smart” ways to the environment and the actions of patients, medical practitioners and healthcare providers.

Smart interactions are supported by the unique combination of design, biosensing, biomimetics, 3D printing and additive manufacturing within the Platform.


The Design & Manufacturing Technology Platform interprets the notion of ‘end-user’ broadly, extending beyond the user of a manufactured product or service, to include industry as the user or adopter of technologies and processes emerging from the MedTech CoRE. This supports the definition of innovation as being more than new or novel for its own sake, to include bringing value to a business, a market or society. In this respect the platform supports the notion of translational research as a continuum from pure research, or discovery through to commercialisation; or translational research and trans-disciplinary collaboration as a means of effecting step change — facilitated by design.

A diagram of design processes and expertise in the MedTech CoRE.
Design contribution to the MedTech CoRE

One key objective is solving interaction design challenges, focusing on real world medical devices and the associated user experiences of the patient and clinician. The Smart Interaction Design (SID) Programme at Victoria University fosters collaborative research that engages with the external community and industry and aims to produce innovative commercially viable design solutions.

This supports the worldwide trends signaling a move from medical practitioner-led healthcare in hospitals to patient-led healthcare at home. This is acknowledged by governments and large manufacturers of medical devices such as Philips, Samsung, Bayada, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. Patients tend to improve faster at home than at hospitals, and depression and infection rates increase the longer a patient stays in hospital. Home-based healthcare will also help reduce hospital costs in space, equipment and staff hours.

The combination of design, biosensing and biomimetics has the potential to translate raw human data into relevant experiences for patients and caregivers – such as video games that facilitate exercising (exer-games) to help patients engage in their own treatment at home. This could be further improved if the exer-games offered relevant challenges that depended on the performance of each patient through the tracking of relevant human data. The research can be extended to many other sectors, from physical therapy to sports science performance applications and new human-computer interaction mechanisms for educational and entertainment purposes.

In order to ensure we are meeting clinical and end-user needs the platform integrates trials with clinicians and patients through the Wellington Hospital Clinical Trials Unit and AUT’s Centre for Person Centred Research, the Health & Research Rehabilitation Institute and the Centre for eHealth.

This aspect of the platform is aligned with the following themes within the MedTech CoRE:

Theme 4: Teleheath and Health Informatics and Theme 3: Assistive Technologies with a specific interest in Flagship 5: Augmentation of upper arm stroke rehabilitation

The Design and Manufacturing Technology Platform also collaborates with the UoA Product Accelerator’s 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing research capability to offer a comprehensive 3D printing expertise. This spans medical applications of high-end multi-material polymer and metal printing through to biomaterials for additive manufacturing. The combined expertise not only facilitates the rapid prototyping of manufactured medical devices across the MedTech CoRE, it will also targets entirely new forms of highly customised manufacturing of medical devices as well as novel healthcare products in the area of regenerative medicine. This will further exploit expertise in the development of biodegradable natural/synthetic biomaterials and custom 3D bioprinting devices for high value manufacturing of patient and tissue specific implants for clinical translation.

This aspect of the platform is aligned with the following themes within the MedTech CoRE: Theme 2: Interventional Technologies and Theme 5: Tissue Engineering for Regenerative Medicine with a specific interest in Flagship 4: Patient-specific virtual organs for surgical planning and Flagship 6: Innovative new strategies for musculoskeletal & soft tissue repair.


Principal Investigator

Victoria University of Wellington

Associate Investigators

Victoria University of Wellington

  • Dr Will Browne
  • Kah Chan
  • Bernard Guy
  • Dr Taeyhun Rhee
  • Dr Brian Robinson
  • Dr Edgar Rodriguez

University of Auckland

  • Dr Thor Besier
  • Prof Jillian Cornish
  • Dr Tim Woodfield

Auckland University of Technology

  • Dr Duncan Babbage
  • Dr Nicola Kayes
  • Dr Nada Signal

Our Work


Current collaborators

The Platform will bring together multiple fields: medical technologies, software and hardware engineering, clinical research, human psychology, medical device design and manufacturing industries with specific involvement of MedTech CoRE and CMDT industry partners.

This Technology Platform includes strategic research partners within Victoria University (Media Design and Industrial Design, Software Engineering, Electronics and Computer Systems Engineering, MacDiarmid Institute) alongside the platform partners UoC (Micro-fabrication, Biomimetics) and UoO (3D Bioprinting, Biomaterials design, Medical device design). Postgraduate students from industrial design, media design, business, engineering and medicine will be supervised within the Platform’s research programme at partner institutions.

Each partner offers Masters and PhD positions in collaboration with industry partners including ACC, Philips Design, Im-Able, Ossis, Enztec, MARS Bioimaging, Mesynthes, Electrospinz. We also have close ties to the digital creative industry via companies such as Weta Digital, Weta Workshop, RESN, PikPok Interactive, Carnival Labs, and Optimal Experience.

The group is collaborating with leading international design and manufacturing universities including: Eindhoven University of Technology (Design for Quality in Interaction and Smart Fabrics), Loughborough University (REMEDI programme, MedTech automation and scale-up), Polytechnic Institute Leiria (Virtual and Rapid Prototyping), Queensland University of Technology/University of Wollongong (Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Additive Biofabrication).



  1. Signal Processing and Event Detection of Hip Implant Acoustic Emissions


  1. Squeaking in Ceramic-on-ceramic hips: No Evidence of Contribution from the Trunnion Morse Taper
  2. Stem Cells for Bone Regeneration: Role of Trophic Factor
  3. Smart Interactions for Home Healthcare: A Semantic Shift
  4. New Visible Light Photo-initiating System for Improved Print Fidelity in Gelatine Based Bio-inks
  5. Modular Tissue Assembly Strategies for Biofabrication of Engineered Cartilage
  6. Additive Manufacturing of a Photo-Cross-Linkable Polymer via Direct Melt Electro-spinning Writing For Producing High Strength Structures
  7. Biofabrication: Reappraising the Definition in an Evolving Field


  1. Three-dimensional Assembly of Tissue-engineered Cartilage Constructs Results in Cartilaginous Tissue Formation without Retainment of Zonal Characteristics