Significant breakthrough in soft robotics announced by international team led by NUIG.
Professor Garry Duffy, Professor in Anatomy at NUI Galway and AMBER Principal Investigator, and a senior co-author of the study along with a team of researchers from the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) at MIT, the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) and AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research recently announced a significant breakthrough in soft robotics which could help patients requiring in-situ (implanted) medical devices such as breast implants, pacemakers, neural probes, glucose biosensors and drug and cell delivery devices.
IMES Core Faculty Member and W.M. Keck Career Development Professor in Biomedical Engineering Ellen Roche, the senior co-author of the study, is a former researcher at NUI Galway who won international acclaim in 2017 for her work in creating a soft robotic sleeve to help patients with heart failure.
The implantable medical devices market is currently estimated at approximately $100 billion (2019) with significant growth potential into the future as new technologies for drug delivery and health monitoring are developed.
These devices are not without problems, caused in part by the body’s own protection responses. A radical new vision for medical devices to address this problem was published recently in the internationally respected journal, Science Robotics and describes the use of soft robotics to modify the body’s response to implanted devices. Soft robots are flexible devices that can be implanted into the body.
The team of scientists involved has created a tiny mechanically actuated soft robotic device known as a dynamic soft reservoir (DSR) that has been shown to significantly reduce the build-up of the fibrous capsule by manipulating the environment at the interface between the device and the body. The device uses mechanical oscillation to modulate how cells respond around the implant. In a bio-inspired design, the DSR can change its shape at a microscope scale through an actuating membrane.
PurdyLucey are delighted to be working with NUIG on this important technology.
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