OnScale is the global leader in Cloud computer aided engineering (CAE), running world-class multi-physics solvers on its Cloud HPC platform. Our platform empowers engineers to accelerate innovation for next-generation products such as 5G smartphones, Internet of Things (IoT) and biomedical devices and driverless car products. OnScale prides itself in offering engineering customers the ability to design and optimize product development cycles. OnScale customer Dr. Kendall Waters, of Verathon Incorporated, recently sat down with us to describe how using OnScale Cloud CAE tools quicken development times, tightens interactions between engineering teams and makes prototyping significantly more efficient.
What does Verathon Incorporated do, and what is your role at the company?
KW: Verathon Incorporated developed the bladder ultrasound market with our BladderScan products. These products have become a standard tool used in acute care hospitals to help reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), specifically catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Verathon has been working at this since 1984. As we move beyond bladder, we expect new clinical applications will require more sophisticated ultrasound devices.
I manage the Verathon Research team. Our team is small, but our charter is broad–including technology development and clinical research. We develop tech in the fields of sensors, imaging system technologies, machine learning algorithms and augmented reality applications. Our clinical research centers around clinical data collection and processing for machine learning applications. The two practices are very much interconnected.
What has been a pain point for Verathon, and what does OnScale provide to help?
KW: A pain point for us, as a medical device company, has been limited computing resources. OnScale provides Cloud CAE tools and services that enable and accelerate virtual prototyping, which in turn will reduce our product development time. OnScale tools increase the efficiency of our team. Its high-powered computing provides us with power we previously did not have, to markedly bolster our simulation speeds. OnScale has also significantly improved our understanding of design trade-offs. It’s given us improved communications between transducer, electrical and mechanical engineering teams, particularly early on in the feasibility phase.
How does Verathon implement OnScale’s technology, and how does it benefit?
KW: We use OnScale’s local application coupled to Cloud HPC for the design of new ultrasound transducers. By implementing OnScale technology, we have control of the design, ease of integration with our mechanical CAD tool and reduced technical risk of new designs through virtual prototyping. We expect to also use OnScale for the evaluation of potential design changes to existing products. The benefits to implementing this are shorter timelines and reduced cost and risk. We have the ability to much more effectively eliminate design change options that are unacceptable from an ultrasound imaging performance perspective and focus on what works.
Can you tell us about your products and/or use cases that OnScale has been actively involved in?
KW: Our current BladderScan products are used by trained operators. We are evaluating opportunities for wearable bladder monitoring devices that could be used remotely by care providers and by patients themselves. We expect that these new devices will require higher-performance sensors, lower power budgets, and lower cost of goods compared to our current products. OnScale addresses each of these requisite factors seamlessly.
For our ultrasound sensor technology, we wanted to rapidly evaluate new transducer technologies through participation in a multi-project wafer (MPW) run at a MEMS foundry. We had a concept sketched on a whiteboard and less than 2 months to develop and finalize a design for the MPW run. This was our most sophisticated ultrasound transducer to date. We also needed to optimize the MEMS design for our clinical application, including MEMS drum dimensions and array layout.
We leveraged OnScale’s Cloud HPC capabilities to make this happen, and we are now expecting the latest devices to be ready within this 2 month time frame. Following this, we will again leverage OnScale to better understand the impact of packaging on device performance.
The use of OnScale enables us to test a transducer technology that is radically different for Verathon on a shortened time scale and at relatively low cost. If we did not use OnScale, I expect that our technology development path would have slipped 1 year.
What differentiates OnScale from other companies in the HPC and CAE spaces that you’ve used?
KW: OnScale understands the needs of designers and their tools are well suited to our design process. OnScale running CAE directly on the Cloud is unique for the tools and services that our teams use. From what we can see, this model bolstered by lowered cost and the HPC Cloud will inevitably allow OnScale to expand and benefit the CAE tools market even further.
Have you used other CAE services previously? How do they compare to OnScale?
KW: I previously used other CAE services for MEMS transducer design purposes. OnScale provides a more complete characterization of the design. For ASIC design, I previously used the corresponding ASIC design services–there was a clear gap when it came to meeting IC design requirements specific to driving an ultrasound transducer. OnScale has been able to fill the gaps in our understanding of device design, development and fabrication.
Would you recommend OnScale to other engineers? Why?
KW: I would strongly recommend OnScale to other engineers. For our new product development, OnScale provides tools and services that meet our needs for ultrasound transducer design. It accelerates our development timelines and reduces risk, all the while lowering cost. OnScale also sets the standard for phenomenal product support. Their experience in design engineering makes our lives easier.
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