XXXVIII Annual Bioengineering School

Bressanone, 9 - 12 September, 2019



The XXXVIII Bioengineering School is aimed at presenting the emerging bioengineering technologies and practices in surgery and therapy. Advance image-based patient modeling, machine learning-based diagnostics, augmented reality, navigation solutions and surgical robotics are examples of technologies which are reshaping the future of care. In such a process, technology professionals, and particularly biomedical engineers, are pivoting the innovation. Terms like evidence-based medicine and personalized medicine have progressively entered into medical language and mostly rely on our capability to extract and elaborate information from diagnostic tools and translate them into specific clinical strategies and approaches. There is indeed a strong need for an interdisciplinary approach and biomedical engineer is asked to manage this process in order to rapidly translate new technological developments into clinical practice. The objective is to deliver new knowledge, invent new technologies, and develop new devices to advance medical care.
Remarkably, most of the above-mentioned technologies are based on the acquisition and use of 4D imaging. Accordingly, there is a fil rouge connecting the previous XXXVII Bioengineering School, dedicated to recent advancements of medical imaging, and the XXXVIII Bioengineering School, focusing on “Advanced bioengineering methods, technologies and tools in surgery and therapy”. Images are indeed a relevant part of the information collected in the preoperative phase to tailor the therapy. Surgical planning nowadays use 3D patient-specific models to optimize the therapy, design the surgical intervention and predict the outcomes. 3D printed anatomies and holograms can augment the medical operator perception during surgery. Imaging and augmented reality are used to guide teleoperated surgery. In this perspective, the current School projects towards the 2020 School on Biorobotics and Artificial Intelligence. One of the main results attainable with such new technologies is the reduction of the invasiveness of medical treatment. This positively rebounds on patient recovery, societal costs and clinical efficacy and efficiency. Technology allows for limiting the use of invasive diagnostic technology, pursuing a precise identification of the surgical target, favoring the use of minimal accesses and guiding dexterous robotic devices, which can precisely and safely manipulate soft tissues.
Technology innovation obviously poses the need for new rules in terms of device certification, device and clinical assessment and ethics requirements, which will be also addressed during the School.
Finally, the School dedicates a special emphasis to innovation. Under the mentoring of selected start-uppers, during the School week, students will be guided in an idea game aimed at exploring the basic steps bringing an idea to a product/service.