Smarth Health

What if Boston Scientific and KU Leuven meet?

boston scientific

On November 12, on the eve of the Boston Scientific Open Innovation Day, KU Leuven got the opportunity to present its medical technology related research to Boston Scientific technical experts and technology scouts. An overview of these technologies, available to any company active in the (implantable) medical devices field.

by LICT, KU Leuven

During a lovely walking diner at the Health House premises, KU Leuven professors and researchers discussed a selection of research topics in the interest sphere of the Boston Scientific delegates. To present their topics, the KU Leuven experts used the interactive multimedia table infrastructure at the Health House labyrinth.

The solutions presented included micro-level medical technology, surgeon support technology as well as higher-level data processing and low-energy security technology. A summary of what the KU Leuven professors and researchers told the special guests.

Microlevel technology for medical equipment

Micro-level technologies, like micro-electronics and micro-fluidics are ever more prominent in medical devices and still the topic of high-tech research activities. In the microfluidics domain, the MeBioS group of the BioSystems department, headed by Prof. Lammertyn, presented its patented iSIMPLE technology. iSIMPLE allows to integrate pumps on a self-contained low cost chip, avoiding the use of external power sources for actuating liquids in channels on the chip. The MICAS group of the Department of Electrical Engineering generally focuses on designing (micro- & nano-electronic) circuits for a better life. This implies research on miniaturization of electronic circuits & systems, ultra-low power electronics, Polymer Microwave Fiber technology, ultrasound data transducers and microsensors as was illustrated by some concrete realizations of Prof. Kraft. As a specific development, Dr. Ceyssens also presented a proven and highly customizable flexible high-resolution neural electrode implant technology. Using an optimized low-cost, thin film-based fabrication technology and an in-house developed insertion device, long-lasting electrodes similar in size to a single brain cell can be inserted. Electronics are currently being integrated into the implants aiming at a 1000+ electrode count.

iSIMPLE allows to integrate pumps on a self-contained low cost chip, avoiding the use of external power sources for actuating liquids in channels on the chip.

Surgeon support technology

Whilst low frequency impedance measurements and optical techniques are well established for endoscopic purposes, the Microwave Life Sciences part of the Telemic group (Prof. Schreurs & Dr. Ocket) is convinced that also microwave measurements from several MHz to tens of GHz can play an important role in tissue examination in addition to optical technology. They propose to extend the telescopic toolbox with microwave sensing and are testing the limits of microwaves for biological applications from the level of biomolecules and single cells to heterogeneous tissue. The RAS group of the Department of Mechanical engineering focuses on solutions to support the surgeons during actual surgery. On the one hand, Prof Vander Poorten presented and demonstrated in a real-life set-up, its research on the development and control of the next generation of flexible surgical instruments that could be used e.g. in fetal surgery. The solutions combine innovative flexible instruments with advanced control technology and intuitive human interfaces. Additionally, also an eye surgery robot, developed under the lead of Prof. Reynaerts was presented. The robot supports the surgeon when injecting drugs in the retinal veins for curing RVO (Retinal Vein Occlusion), increasing over 10 times the precision of the surgeons actions.

The Microwave Life Sciences part of the Telemic group is convinced that microwave measurements from several MHz to tens of GHz play an important role in tissue examination.

What with the Data?

State-of-the-Art medical implants & wearable sensors produce lots of data that requires further processing to be able to act upon. As one of the KU Leuven research groups on Data Analytics the BIoMed team of Prof Van Huffel & Prof. Bertrand of the STADIUS group focuses on the development of numerically reliable and robust signal processing algorithms for improving medical diagnostics and decision support based on multimodal biomedical data fusion (e.g. EEG, ECG, EMG, fMRI, accelerometry,…). Application domains include a.o. neuro-monitoring & -steering, sleep-monitoring, cardiac monitoring, …

The BIoMed team of the STADIUS group focuses on the development of numerically reliable and robust signal processing algorithms for improving medical diagnostics and decision support.

And finally, as a crosscutting technology, Prof. Verbauwhede of COSIC has a focus on lightweight & low-energy solutions for securing both the transport of telemetry data and firmware updates in implantable medical devices. Both the security architecture as well as hardware/software implementations are in target.

For more information, contact Greet Bilsen, valorization coordinator of the KU Leuven LICT center.