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Johnson & Johnson

Attune Pin Jack: Function and Ergonomic Balance

2011  |  Lead Designer

Attune Primary Total Knee Replacement System is the most advanced joint replacement solution in the world.


One of its key instruments, a pin installer and remover, is one of the most challenging devices to design because of its frequency of use and various user hand positions across the procedure. I led the research and design of this instrument.

Business Objective

This instrument will be used in four different systems so its design must address all the various use cases.

Design Objective

Conduct user research to drive to a design direction both in form and function while keeping within project cost targets.



The Attune Primary Total Knee Replacement System is composed of over 600 individual instruments, varying from implant trials to spacers to knee jigs and screw drivers. Out of all of these instruments, one of the most frequently used across a knee procedure was a simple pin puller.

Pins (nail-like instruments) are used across the system for positioning and fixation. Pins serve both as reference points as well as ensuring a device was mounted correctly. Traditionally, the name "Pin Puller" was given to the instrument that removed pins throughout the procedure even though the instrument would also help place the pins as well.

Last minute critical feedback from our surgeon team required a new design. With tremendous pressure to deliver a new product quickly before launch, the team asked me to lead the design effort since I had designed several of the other instruments in the system.


  1. A review of current pin pullers we have across every system I could find

  2. A thorough competitive analysis of pin pullers across the industry, including customer feedback from surgeons on the team

  3. And finally, a rigorous design and test cycle that involved numerous rapid prototypes and several phases of research and testing.

After these initial phases, we had enough information to compare them to our anthropometric data standards and apply our human factors considerations. The focus was on the span of the device, the amount of force required to perform operations as well as multiple hand holding positions across the procedure.



After pulling together all the research and testing, I sketched a few concepts that took into account the human factors requirements. Reviewing the designs with the wider team allowed me to focus on the top ideas to model and prototype for evaluation by our surgeon design team.


Below is the final summary from my design sprint including my recommendations and considerations with the final design direction.



This is the final design of the device, which we renamed to Pin Jack to reduce confusion because of its dual purpose. Currently, it is included in every award-winning Attune Total Knee Replacement System (Primary & Revision).

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