Development of a software for the design of custom-made hip prostheses using an open-source rapid application development environment

M. Viceconti, D. Testi, R. Gori, C. Zannoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present work describes a technology transfer project called HIPCOM devoted to the re-engineering of the process used by a medical devices manufacturer to design custom-made hip prostheses. Although it started with insufficient support from the end-user management, a very tight scheduling and a moderate budget, the project developed into what is considered by all partners a success story. In particular, the development of the design software, called HIPCOM Interactive Design Environment (HIDE) was completed in a time shorter than any optimistic expectation. The software was quite stable since its first beta version, and once introduced at the user site it fully replaced the original procedure in less than two months. One year after the early adoption, more than 80 custom-made prostheses had been designed with HIDE and the user had reported only two bugs, both cosmetics. The scope of the present work was to report the development experience and to investigate the reasons for these positive results, with particular reference to the development procedure and the software architecture. The choice of TCL/TK as development language and the adoption of well-defined software architecture were found to be the success key factors. Other important determinants were found to be the adoption of an incremental software engineering strategy, well suited for small to medium projects and the presence in the development staff of a technology transfer expert.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Custom-made prosthesis
  • Design environment
  • Rapid development environment
  • Software interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management
  • Nursing(all)


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