The advances of the Centre will create an intuitive and highly
personalised surgical platform that enables more precise, less invasive
procedures. Greater precision also means more patients will be viable for
complicated but life-altering surgery and those treated will benefit from
safer, more localised treatments and a shorter recovery time in hospital.
The research is being developed with a wide range of clinical applications in mind, including vascular, paediatric, ophthalmic, neurological and prostate surgical interventions. In particular, the Centre will advance engineering sciences in intraoperative imaging and sensing, data fusion and extraction, human-technology interfaces, tissue modelling, interventional instrumentation and surgical navigation.
Eight fundamental research platforms link the Centre’s interdisciplinary and cross-faculty groups:
- Surgical and Interventional Robotic Assistants (SIERRA): Develop and link robotic assistants to imaging and sensing devices and to the algorithm capabilities within the Centre.
- All Optical Ultrasound: High frequency, miniature ultrasound catheters can be invaluable for guiding minimally invasive medical procedures by visualising tissue from within the human body.
- Endoscopic Imaging and Vision (EndoVI): Translate computational techniques developed for endoscopic imaging into clinical systems that form part of first-in-man studies.
- Miniature Sensors and Nanoengineered Coatings: The vision in this platform is to underpin a transformation in surgical and interventional field by exploiting innovations in miniature, multiplexed and multimodal sensing and nanoengineered surface treatment strategies.
- Photoacoustic Imaging Instrumentation: Photoacoustic imaging will be translated for use in interventional medicine. This will be achieved by engineering the instrumentation so that it is suitable for first-in-man use for guiding fetal surgery, laparoscopic liver surgery and pre-treatment planning for cancer management.
- Surgical Navigation Platform with Python (SNAPPY): Focus is on software components to facilitate tracking, image acquisition using devices such as ultrasound or video capture, calibration and real-time processing.
- Simulation Platform for the dEvElopment of new surgical Devices and Optimisation of Personalised Clinical Procedures (SPEEDOP): Development of novel surgical tools and techniques and for the optimisation of personalised clinical procedures will bridge the gap between theory/concept and practice for development of new tools and clinical techniques.
- Advanced Ultrasound Imaging Modes for Interventional Applications (ADVUSIMIA): A suite of software tools, code-based tutorials and associated guidance documents that collectively form a comprehensive toolkit to enable researchers to quickly and easily acquire ultrasound image data in a clinical setting using both standard and non-standard imaging modes.
All research platforms are supported by a clear translation strategy to support concept-to-product research for maximum impact, made possible by the innovation support themes:
- System Integration: Linking our fundamental research themes together and ensuring sustainability and scalability of our developments
- Health Technology Assessment: Evaluating the clinical impact of the Centre’s technology and relying on our hub-and-spoke model with key clinical satellites and our international partners
- (Micro)electronics for sensing, imaging and robotics in interventional sciences: Microelectronics expertise is crucial to shorten the translational timeline for a number of WEISS platforms focusing on miniature sensing, imaging and robotics
- Quality Management: Implementing best practice in our design, development and evaluation work to ensure safety of the devices we translate to the clinic and lower the barrier of technology transfer
- Human Systems: Introducing training and developing rich accounts of user practice and needs and prototyping and testing novel user interfaces to advanced imaging systems