Our laboratories in Eindhoven have several early stage projects that are being formed into startup companies. There are emerging opportunities to invest at an early stage. All the examples below are based on extensive market research and listening tours. Our goal is to bring applied engineering research and development much closer to society.
There are two projects which have reached a milestone which we can discuss.
Removing Tumours from the Inner Ear
One Ph.D. student is developing an image-guided bone removal robot. Together with the Radboud Medical Centre in Nijmegen, he is developing a new surgical robot to assist during precision bone removal procedures, for example to isolate and remove tumors in the skull. Currently, such an operation can take more than 6 hours before the surgeons have reached the tumor to be removed. It's an operation which often results in permanent hearing loss and, at the same time, is physically exhausting for the surgeon. Unfortunately, these procedures have high risks of complications, since razor-sharp cutting tools are used within millimeters of vital body structures when guided by surgeons with very restricted vision in the area being operated on.
For example, if the surgeon hits the facial nerve in the course of the operation, half the patient's face may be paralyzed for life. By using a far more precise robot which can access and interpret (CT/MR) image data, the new startup hopes to speed up bone removal procedures, which is also considerably less invasive with fewer complications. The same robot design may be able to assist in precision bone removal tasks in other areas of the human body, or can more accurately place cochlear implants - so that patients who were born deaf, or became deaf, can hear again.
The working title of this project is ‘RoBoSculpt’ (Robotic Bone Sculpturer), but we're working on a better more descriptive name. Suggestions welcome.
Deep Brain Stimulation
Another Ph.D. student is working on applying precision robotics to the deep brain stimulation operation, a procedure used to help Parkinson patients. This pacemaker for the brain involves placing electrodes in certain specific spots. The more accurate they are placed, the less chance that the patient suffers unwanted side effects. You can't help being impressed by how far this Ph.D student has progressed, not only in designing a much better solution but also thinking about how this will create a viable business.
Many more projects in development
There are more robotic devices in our portfolio, but several have not yet reached the stage where there are ready to emerge for stealth-mode. Please contact us if we've raised your curiosity and you'd like to assist us develop these life-changing devices. All the contact details you need are in the footer of this website.