LaparAssist is focused on the development of new medical technologies that significantly increase surgical precision, reduce operating time, and enhance patient care for physicians who specialize in laparoscopic surgery.

The Problem We Solve

Laparoscopic surgeons have indicated that communication difficulties in their training have led to longer surgeries and increased internal hemorrhaging. Thus, we determined the medical need to be: a way for attending laparoscopic surgeons to accurately guide trainees when their hands are occupied with instrumentation during laparoscopic surgery to expedite communication, increase surgical precision, reduce operating room time, and enhance learner comprehension.

Our Current Focus

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has been exponentially growing since the introduction of laparoscopic surgery in the late 1980s. The advantages of minimally invasive surgery are well-documented: shorter hospitalization, faster recovery, more rapid return to normal activities, and fewer postoperative infections. Despite this, due to the procedure occurring through live video on a monitor as compared to an open body cavity, effective communication between surgeons and surgical assistants is critical for a streamlined MIS. LaparAssist is a wireless, hands-free, foot-pedal activated, head-mounted laser pointer that allows surgeons to precisely and quickly point to a specific location on the laparoscopic monitor whilst maintaining the sterile surgical field.

About Us

LaparAssist is currently run by dedicated founders and have been working together for three years. We started working together as part of a biomedical engineering entrepreneurship program during our first year of graduate school. During that year we won the competitive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award while in the biomedical engineering entrepreneurship program that came with a cash prize of $5,000 for prototyping. We met Dr. Annmarie Vilkins, DO, an OB/GYN laparoscopic surgeon, during the program after shadowing at Henry Ford Hospital System and she came to us with an idea that she had for a medical technology. Colin, Maxwell, Kay, and Simon then took the idea and built it out into what is now LaparAssist.

Services We Provide

  • Prototyping

  • Biomedical Engineering Design

  • Designing prototype parts for 3-D printing

Team/Executive Committee

Colin O’Hern

Chief Executive Officer

Simon Sanchez

Chief Financial Officer

Kay Hadrick

Chief Operating and Technology Officer

Maxwell Hakun

VP of Engineering and Prototyping

Annmarie Vilkins, DO

Chief Medical Officer


I can see my colleagues using this device.

I definitely think it could reduce surgery time as well as bleeding in the form of blood volume caused by miscommunication…I would have benefitted from having this device when I was doing residency.

Dr. Kendall Griffith, MD
Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon

…I was in a laparoscopic surgery the following day and one of our surgeons needed to “sacrifice” a sterile grasper to point to the screen to guide a resident. Meaning… we couldn’t use that instrument the rest of the case because she broke the sterile field with it due to necessity to point something out to the resident.

…As a resident I would definitely benefit from my attendings using this device since sometimes they don’t give the best verbal directions.

Henry Ford Hospital OB/GYN Residents

This has great potential for a surgical teaching tool.

Noah Rindos, MD, FACOG
Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon

This would really compliment my ability to teach both new and seasoned learners.

Kelly Wright, MD, FACOG
Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon

Recent Features

MSU Research Foundation and Broad College of Business Announce 2024 Student Venture Capital Fund Investment in Startups

Read Article @ Michigan State University Research Foundation

Physician and MSU doctoral students launch LaparAssist, Inc. to improve communication in the OR

Read Article @ Henry Ford Health

Awards and Publications

Supporting Organizations