Ongoing projects

Artery – Autonomous Robotics for Transcatheter dEliveRy sYstems

People involved:Elena De Momi, Emiliano Votta blueprint-green

Funding source: H2020-ICT-2018-20
Grant number: 101017140

Funding period: 2021 – 2023

Partners: Sant’Anna University (Pisa), KU Leuven (Leuven), IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital (Milano), SwissVortex (Zürich), Artiness (Milano), FBGs (Belgium)

Cardiovascular diseases are the single most common cause of death in Europe and worldwide. Minimally invasive catheter-based approaches are gaining in importance as they extend treatment to patients with high surgical peri-operative risks. Today, catheter-based treatment comes with steep learning curves, poor ergonomics and exposure to damaging radiation.

ARTERY offers a radiation-free approach based on shared-autonomy robotic catheters, with increased user engagement and easy interaction. The fusion of the information yielded by echocardiography, optical and electromagnetic sensing techniques will provide a superior view upon the cardiovascular space. Fluidic actuation paired with artificial intelligence will be the pillars motors of the next generation of robotic catheters that autonomously find their way towards the target site. Through a fully immersive augmented reality interface, the operator will monitor the intravascular route of the catheter with no need for radiation-based imaging. Once into the heart, the operator will be able to navigate the intracardiac domain as if being teleported right inside the patient’s anatomy and will define the catheter target pose by simple gestures into the holographic representation. Artificial intelligence algorithms will automatically translate this input into the set of actions to be performed by the actuators. Variable-autonomy schemes allow the interventionist to take over control at any instant.

ARTERY will showcase this new paradigm on mitral valve repair and left appendage closure, two complex yet critical life-saving interventions. Clinicians and company partners are ready to take over the technology developed in ARTERY and translate it to the clinic right after the project.

In ARTERY, the expertise of our group in computational modeling, augmented reality and AI will be merged with the expertise of the Medical Robotics Section of NearLab on surgical robotics and human-robot interaction.

DIH HERO – Digital Innovation Hub: Healthcare Robotics

People involved: Giancarlo Ferrigno, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Elena De Momi blueprint-green

Funding source: EU Horizon 2020
Grant number:  825003

Funding period: 2019 – 2022


Digitising and transforming European industry and services: digital innovation hubs and platforms. A four-year project aimed at the digitalisation of the Healthcare robotics industry in all its aspects. A Third Party Funding scheme will allow SMEs to access best practice and advice for innovation in Robotics healthcare.

ATLAS – AuTonomous intraLuminAl Surgery

People involved:Zhen Li,Jorge Lazo, Luca Sestini, Chun Feng Lai, Elena De Momi, Giancarlo Ferrignoblueprint-green

Funding source: MSCA-ITN-2018
Grant number: 813782

Funding period: 2019 – 2023


Abstract:ATLAS is a Marie Curie European Joint Doctorate school (813782) that targets the training of experts in a very specific branch of Robotic Surgery. ATLAS stands for “AuTonomous intraLuminAl Surgery”. Intraluminal navigation, a particularly challenging branch,  reappears in many minimal invasive surgical (MIS) interventions that rely on steering flexible instruments through fragile lumens or vessels. The project, coordinated by the University of Leuven, is implemented by a consortium of seven Universities and many industrial partners.

The project will develop smart flexible robots that autonomously propel through complex deformable tubular structures. This calls for seamless integration of sensors, actuators, modelling and control. By engaging in this ambitious research topic, participants will be exposed to all aspects of robotics. While contributing to the state of the art, they will become proficient in building, modelling, testing, interfacing in short in integrating basic building blocks into systems that display sophisticated behavior.

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