Aristidis Schnelzer

2019 - Ongoing

Technological development is advancing at a rapid pace. In the field of medicine, it is producing increasingly futuristic-looking technologies. Bionic prostheses that can be controlled by nerve impulses, robots that restore the mobility of stroke patients, 3D printers that print organic tissue ... What forms does this development take and what is the added value for those affected?

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  • Navient, a cranial navigation system. The system offers greater safety when taking tissue samples and during tumour resection (removal of tumours). With the appropriate software and access to MRT and CT data of the patient, surgical interventions can be planned preoperatively.

  • The holomedical application Virtual Surgery Intelligence (VSI) makes it possible to augment the real world with holograms. Images from medical imaging procedures (CT, MRI, etc.) can be displayed three-dimensional in mixed reality glasses. These anatomical images can be merged with the patient with millimeter accuracy, allowing pathologies to be located more quickly and treated more precisely. It is also possible to synchronize the hologram views between different glasses. This allows the operation to be discussed with patients in advance. In addition, other doctors can be remotely consulted for complicated procedures via telecommunication.

  • Da Vinci Xi surgical system. The surgeries are mostly minimal invasive, that means there is only a small cut through which all the instruments find access to the inner organs. The robot is controlled remotely by a surgeon via the surgeon console. Through the console the surgeon sees a very detailed tenfold magnified 3D image of the surgical area. Additionally the robot compensates accidental movements like trembling of the surgeon. The Da Vinci robot is primarily used for urological surgeries.

  • ZAP X System for radiotherapy of tumors in the head region. Advanced technology ensures maximum protection of healthy tissue during radiation. The procedure is non-invasive, causes no pain and takes approximately 30 minutes. The ZAP X is self-shielded, which means no radiation can escape from the system during treatment. This makes the ZAP X the first radiosurgical system that does not require a bunker for application. This makes it much more cost-effective to purchase. Therefore, even smaller institutions in rather remote regions should be able to offer high-quality tumor treatment. The ZAP X at the Bonifatius Hospital in Lingen is currently the only one of its kind in Europe.

  • Cochlear implant. This device enables deaf people to hear again. It consists of an external and an internal implanted part. The external part detects sounds and converts them into digital signals which are then transmitted to the internal part. The auditory nerve is then stimulated via electrodes so that patients can perceive corresponding sounds again. In Germany more than 30,000 people now wear such an implant.

  • Patient wearing a cochlear implant.

  • Schalltoter Raum. Dieser dient dazu bestimmte Schallsituationen zu simulieren, um die Forschung rund um das auditorische System voranzubringen.

  • Operating table for small animals. These are implanted with small devices to make their hearing more resistant to noise. Afterwards it is tested whether their hearing actually behaves differently than in animals that have not undergone the operation.

  • Rat with implanted optical cochlear implant (oCI). In contrast to the electrical cochlear implant (eCI), which has been used in medical practice for decades, the auditory nerves in the optical cochlear implant are not stimulated by electrical impulses but by light signals. Since the cochlea is naturally filled with a fluid, auditory nerves can be stimulated much more precisely by light than by electrical impulses. However, human cells do not normally respond to light, so optogenetic methods are currently being used to find ways of making them light-active. It is expected that human clinical trials can be conducted for the optical cochlear implant from 2025.

  • Experimental setup for the further development of optogenetic methods. Optogenetics allows the targeted stimulation of nerve cells of animals by light. The stimulation of nerve cells by light is more precise and immediate than stimulation through electric impulses or drugs. This is used to analyze correlations between neuronal activity and behavior. Here, a blue and a green laser beam are directed simultaneously into a special optical fiber. By adjusting the mirrors, the exit positions along the fiber can be specifically varied. With this setup, the possibility of stimulating neurons in the auditory center with light-sensitive proteins will be investigated.

  • The active two-arm exoskeleton, developed by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, serves to optimize upper body rehabilitation. A previously recorded movement can be executed as often as desired. The movement can be triggered by EEG or EMG. The exoskeleton also has a mirror mode. Here, the affected arm can be controlled by the healthy arm.

  • Spider silk is stretchable, tear-resistant, antibacterial and can be completely broken down by the body. Because of these properties, it offers various possible applications in the medical field. For example, spider silk can serve as a natural scaffold and be colonized with cells. It can also be used to reconstruct peripheral nerve defects. The spiders must be "milked" to obtain the silk. This is not painful for the animals. Within a few minutes, several meters of silk can be obtained from one spider.

  • Tissue donation.

  • Bio X Bio 3D printer. The printer can print with organic three-dimensional forms, such as organs. So far the organs are not implantable, because scientists are not able to print a functional blood vessel system. Also at the moment the process of printing takes too long, so that cells die while printing.

  • International Neuroscience Institute in Hanover. The architecture of the building is inspired by the human brain.

  • Sensor patch for respiration monitoring in newborns. The patch is applied between the chest and abdomen and records the respiratory movements of the rib cage via sensors. The respiratory movements are then evaluated by an AI and forwarded to the ventilator as control signals. In this way, breathing can be monitored continuously and the ventilator can be adapted to changes in breathing at any time.

  • Dynamic Arm, a prosthetic upper arm developed by Otto Bock. The prosthesis, which is powered by an electric motor, is connected by electrodes to the intact muscles at the amputation site and can thus be controlled by nerve signals from the patient. The hand prosthesis can also be changed. The hand prosthesis VINCENTevolution 3 from Vincent Systems is shown here. With 6 integrated motors, each finger can be moved independently.

  • Hand prosthesis made of silicone. This prosthesis serves as a replacement for finger and partial hand amputations. The prostheses are custom-made and realistically replicate missing limbs.