Implants, Sensors and Devices
Implants, Sensors and Devices epitomize the concept of bringing digital health to the patient interface, as data is obtained closely to the pathophysiological process. So far, sensors and diagnostics reside often outside the body. Here we are moving closer to the patient in selected application areas, as research is specializing in sensors and applications close to or inside the patient’s body, such as implantable sensors or personalized implants. The respective professorship will serve as a central facilitator for medical sensor and implant activities and will perform teaching courses for engineers and future physicians.
The future workplace for healthcare professionals will command much more data and offer inherent intelligence and assistance. In order for this workplace to function properly, healthcare professionals and supporting technology must interact privately, safely and conveniently. New spaces of information delivery arise, be it surgical theatres, hospital rooms or medical homecare environments. In order to enable these spaces to become “smart”, more and more real time sensory data need to be set to context and be interpreted by algorithms driving automated processes or by patients and healthcare professionals.
At the bedside, devices such as laptops or tablets are of limited use due to hygienic requirements and the need for a high degree of interaction flexibility with the patient. Here it is necessary to develop mobile assistance (and communication) systems based on augmented reality technologies, which are able to capture and process situations and contexts on the basis of static information and relevant sensor data and to provide multi-professional user groups with relevant data according to their needs. As a rule, these assistance solutions must not interfere with the human interaction with the patient, so that an intelligent control logic must be developed for this purpose, which takes into account the special requirements and the context of medical professionals. These are the main research agendas of the application room Connected care.
Robotics and Coworking
Digitization offers completely new approaches for re-thinking smart spaces as a prerequisite for a new generation of interventions, smart instruments for surgical techniques and interventions and context-aware Robotics and Coworking.
The application room aims at systems with novel instrumentation that not only perform pre-programmed tasks, but also understand, react and learn from a given situation, similar to a human assistant. The development of novel robotic or intelligent instruments that offer a new level of multifunctionality, precision, haptic and other feedback is the focus of this application room.
A relevant part of future medical robotics will be based on coworking in smart spaces and hybrid procedures, rather than fully robotic procedures: Established minimally invasive (i.e. human driven) procedures for certain stages of operations are faster and safer than fully robotic procedures (e.g. hepatic mobilization in liver surgery). Additionally, physician control in a co-working environment is closer to patient preferences and ethically more robust. Semi-automation of sub-tasks in a context-aware manner enabels an intuitive and ergonomic co-working environment between man and machine such as for clamp holding, knot tying, endoscope and ultrasound guidance.