Grant for the development of smart cathethers & implants

News - 06 December 2017 - Communication

Ronald Dekker, Lina Sarro, Vasiliki Giagka, Wouter Serdijn and Paul de Wit received a grant concerning the development of smart catheters and implants. The project is financed by ECSEL Innovation actions, Call 2017.

Summary of the project: POSITION- II, A pilot line for the next generation of smart catheters and implants


About 10% of the western population will at a certain stage in their life be taken to a cath lab for angioplasty surgery (stent placement), treatment of an arrhythmia or a heart valve replacement. Fortunately, most of these interventions can be carried out using minimally invasive procedures that are assisted by a host of smart imaging and sensing catheters that are the “eyes and ears” of the surgeon directly at the point of intervention.

Essential and life-saving as these smart instruments are, they are without exception manufactured using outdated and obsolete technology. Surprisingly, over the past decade there has been little to none innovation, while clinicians are asking for instruments with better functionality that are smaller, cheaper and easier to use. The main reason for the lack of innovation is that these instruments are manufactured using technological point solutions, that on their own do not generate enough production volume to justify continuous innovation.

It is the ambition of the POSITION-II project to realize a breakthrough in this impasse situation by the introduction of open technology platforms for: miniaturization, in-tip AD conversion, wireless communication, MEMS transducer technology and encapsulation. These platforms are open to multiple users and for multiple applications. The availability of these open platforms will allow manufacturers to improve the performance of smart catheters at a lower cost. Additionally, it will enable the development of completely new smart minimally invasive instruments. The platform approach will generate the production volume needed for a sustainable innovation that is guided by roadmaps.

The production activities will be centered around the (pilot) manufacturing facility realized in the ECSEL “InForMed” project in Eindhoven in the center of Europe. In the “InForMed” project this pilot line is linked to key European partners that provide: advanced materials, integration, and assembly services. It is the explicit ambition of the project to break the US monopoly in the development and production of smart catheters and position Europe as primary innovator and manufacturer in this economically and socially relevant market.