“We share the consortium’s passion for improving the care of children needing orthopedic and spinal treatment, said Dan Sands, director and chief executive of AMB Surgical.
AMB Surgical was named after Ashley Mae Burnett, who was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was five years old.
The company’s device, dubbed “FLYTE,” offers a combination of miniature gearing, power, sensors and wireless communication technology. It can be controlled remotely, in other words.
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Scoliosis imposes a curvature of the spine. Children who suffer the condition can require surgeries to adjust “growing rods” which are placed along their spines as they grow, as often as twice a year.The surgeries can happen from ages eight to 18, costing an average of $250,000 each, Tyson Ross, an AMB co-founder, told the Dayton Daily News in a 2017 interview.
Ross and fellow company co-founder and Miamisburg native Casel Burnett white-boarded a concept and came up with a design for an “automated growing rod.” With wireless control, the rod attached to the spine can be remotely contracted or expanded as needed, sparing the needs for invasive surgeries.
“I said, ‘You know, you’re a mechanical engineer; I’m an electrical engineer. Let’s do something to fix this,’” Ross recalled telling Burnett in 2017. “We were both in tears.”
Ross is a principal scientist in the Controls, Power and Thermal Management division at the Air Force Research Laboratory, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Burnett is a engineering group manager at Toyota Motor Manufacturing of America.