Markus Windolf receives AO Technical Commission Certificate of Merit
Markus Windolf, the Focus Area Leader of Concept Development at the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI), received the Certificate of Merit from the AO Technical Commission (AO TC) (Fig 1). The award ceremony took place at the AO TC Chairs Meeting in December 2019 after Windolf presented the latest development progress on the AO Fracture Monitor and the Biphasic Plate. Michael Raschke (Chair of the AO TC Trauma) honored Windolf in the presence of all Chairs of the AO TC and representatives of DePuy Synthes. He explained that the Certificate of Merit is awarded to Windolf's outstanding contributions in the development of innovative orthopedic concepts and novel treatment solutions for advancement in patient care.
In particular, Windolf received the prestigious AO TC prize for the development of a simplified navigation system based on shape recognition (X-in-One concept), which can be universally applied to improve various orthopedic procedures and for a concept to automatically determine the required screw length during drilling (Fig 2), which eliminates the need to measure screw length with a manual depth gauge. Both concepts were received with great interest by the Expert Groups of the AO TC. These concepts are now in translation to clinical applications, which is a clearly visible sign that the Concept Development Focus Area under the thoughtful leadership of Windolf plays an essential role in the efforts of the AO Foundation to foster innovation.
When asked what the Certificate of Merit means to him, Windolf replied "It is an honor to receive this award in recognition of all the efforts which have been required to advance these concepts to stages which allow final product realization. The highest reward for every inventor is to see ideas become reality. Medical device development is a bumpy road. There are so many influential factors which must be considered to turn a concept into a solution." He noted that his daily work is never predictable and added, "Without the support of my whole Concept Development team it would not have been possible to be so successful. We have achieved this intermediate milestone together. The Certificate of Merit is some extra motivation for all of us and shows that we are heading in the right direction."
Since he started working for ARI in 2004, Windolf has filed 13 patent families that underlines his innovative drive to solve clinical problems. The Concept Development team tries to seek better solutions in various areas of interest, like simplified implant positioning, systematic implant optimization, and assessment of bone healing by means of smart implants. However, Windolf knows "You have to focus on the most important topics. It doesn't make sense to try to solve everything at once. Bundling resources and staying focused will be our key to success."
There are promising concepts that are currently propelled by Windolf and his team. One of them is the Biphasic Plate, an implant concept to install a beneficial mechanical environment for bone healing at the fracture site. For more information, see the dedicated article in this magazine.
The new AO Innovation Translation Center is providing an environment that will support inventors like Windolf to convert concepts into reality. We wish Windolf and his team continued success in the development of new solutions that make a positive difference in surgeons' and patients' lives.