EU S3martMed development project – international innovation workshop with live-streamed surgery

AI and 3D printing are shaping the future of medical technology

AI and 3D printing are shaping the future of medical technology

(Stuttgart/Tübingen) – BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, partner in the EU S3martMed development project, hosted an international innovation workshop titled “S3martMed needs SmartTech”. In live operations at the Institute of Clinical Anatomy and Cell Analysis in Tübingen, participants gained authentic insights into medical needs. The entrepreneurs from Europe and Japan also saw how artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing are set to transform medical technology and were able to forge international links for relevant collaboration projects funded as part of S3martMed.

Entrepreneurs and experts from Poland, Japan, Italy, Belgium, France and Germany have taken part in the first interregional S3martMed Business Brokerage Event. They had the opportunity to talk with medical directors and consultants during live-streamed surgery and practical exercises in the operating theatre at the Institute of Clinical Anatomy and Cell Analysis in Tübingen and work together to develop new ideas for instruments and methods.

As an entrepreneur, you don’t just see the current needs – it also gets you instantly thinking about the next level of development.

Dr. Artur Ochojski from the Polish MedSilesia cluster and lecturer at the University of Economics in Katowice was impressed after watching an artificial heart transplant being performed live: ” As an entrepreneur, you don’t just see the current needs – it also gets you instantly thinking about the next level of development. “

Under the banner “S3martMed needs SmartTech”, attendees not only learned about current medical needs but were also able to look directly into the future of medical technology. In his keynote speech, Dr. Johannes Stelzer spoke about “Artificial Intelligence in Imaging”.

The co-founder of Colugo GmbH from Tübingen is carrying out research into the analysis and visualisation of brain data using AI at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, which is also based in Tübingen. “Today’s imaging methods produce a flood of images that is often difficult to deal with,” says Dr. Stelzer. “This is where AI technologies come into play, helping medical practitioners with assessments and interpretation and thus improving the quality and efficiency of treatments.”

Routine work in the laboratory can also be optimised using AI. Maximilian Hans from Intuity Media Lab GmbH in Stuttgart presented a next-generation intelligent digital lab assistant: “The Minimic microscope can be trained to evaluate a wide range of samples. This way, the Minimic becomes an expert itself for providing diagnoses.”

Many challenges of medical products could be solved by additive manufacturing in future. From patient-specific implants to printed disposable tools, applications with added-value are conceivable

In his presentation, Oliver Refle from the Fraunhofer Institute for manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA described the prospects for “3D printing in medical technology”: “Many challenges of medical products could be solved by additive manufacturing in future. From patient-specific implants to printed disposable tools, applications with added-value are conceivable. But in order to tap this potential, companies have to be open-minded to new solutions. Additive manufacturing is particularly successful if there is a willingness to break new ground along the entire product life-cycle – from business models to product development and certification”.

During the workshop, the more than 40 entrepreneurs and scientists didn’t just experience live surgery and fascinating keynote speeches. They also made extensive use of the opportunity for international networking and for initiating collaborations to develop strategies and applications for 3D-printed implants and artificial intelligence in medical technology. When it came to answering questions about financing for these types of interregional collaboration projects, Hartmut Welck and Hicham Abghay from Steinbeis 2i GmbH covered public funding, while Dr. André Zimmermann from SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement mbH focused on private investment. After all, new project ideas that are created in the S3martMed network are supported using a made-to-measure strategic plan to identify suitable funding so that an idea gives rise to a market-ready product. 

The content of this part of the S3martMed project, represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.