Another boost for medical robotics research

The STW technology association’s Simon Stevin Master award that is being presented on Thursday 24 November will be invested in further research into medical robotics, professor Maarten Steinbuch has announced. The award of half a million euros is part of the 2016 Simon Stevin Master investiture, the highest engineering science distinction in the Netherlands. 

Logical consequence
Maarten Steinbuch’s group has already developed robots that enable surgeons to perform extremely precise operations that human hands are not capable of performing. A well-known example is the start-up Preceyes, which developed a robotic system to allow eye surgeons to undertake highly precise operations.

Part of the money will again be used to finance research into an surgical robot. Jordan Bos, PhD at Mechanical Engineering, will be building an experiment for his study into medical surgery on cancer around the ear. The new robot will, like its Preceyse and Microsure predecessors, be used for medical intervention. This time the research concerns the highly precise removal of bone.

The new robot makes use of existing imagery data, from CT scans, and is able to remove cancer in the area around the ear. For a human hand this is a very difficult proposition due to the extremely critical structures hidden in the petrous bone. In addition, the robot is expected to be better able to perform hearing (cochlear) implant surgery.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of STW, there are two recipients of the award this year. Apart from Steinbuch, professor Suzanne Hulscher of the University of Technology Twente will be presented with the award during the STW annual conference on 24 November 2016.