i-Med Technology wins ATTRACT grantjune 4, 2019
Based at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, i-Med Technology is working on a 3D digital surgical loupe that is seen by the target group of surgeons as an unusually practical tool for their daily work in the operating room. They also see interesting additional opportunities within their own field of specialization. Thanks to a European ATTRACT grant (Horizon 2020), one of these potential customized applications is now gaining momentum: this innovation makes critical tissues such as nerves and lymphatic vessels visible with infrared cameras in order to reduce the risk of damage during surgery.
Over the last seven years, a lot of preliminary work has gone into investigating this possibility at Maastricht UMC+. Under Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy’s leadership, Dr. Rutger Schols dedicated his PhD research to this topic. Joining them are Maastricht Instruments, imec (the supplier of the camera) and Twente University, all of which are helping i-Med to visualize what has been invisible for surgeons up until now. i-Med is also working very closely, and successfully, with various partners at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus on the development of the 3D digital surgical loupe.
Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy is a professor of Innovative Surgical Techniques and surgeon at the Maastricht UMC+ where she is also the head of innovative surgery. “One professional risk all surgeons face is damaging tissue that is very hard to see. This is why I am really interested in the possibilities that make lymph nodes, lymph vessels and nerves visible in real time."
In exactly one year's time, ATTRACT expects to see a real-time 3D augmented reality demonstration that will prove that - thanks to the combination of multispectral cameras and advanced computer analytics - critical tissue can indeed be made visible in real time with infrared cameras in i-Med’s 3D digital surgical loupe. Just back from Geneva, Vincent Graham and Jaap Heukelom of i-Med Technology are diligently taking on the ambitious but achievable challenge: the first deliveries for the trial installation will be in by the end of the week.
ATTRACT is a European grant program within the scope of Horizon 2020 that is intended for very challenging innovative projects, including in the field of medical imaging and sensors. Each of the 170 projects is awarded a grant of €100,000 and are given 12 months to demonstrate that the idea can really work. 80% of the project applications come from universities and large research institutes. Fifteen Dutch initiatives, including only two start-ups, had their applications accepted. i-Med was one of them. During the kick-off at CERN in Geneva on May 21 and 22 this year, representatives from each project were given exactly 120 seconds to explain to the audience what they hope to achieve with the grant.