Intelligent 3D-printed interactive Robots for interventional Radiology and Surgery


Operating theatre robots are used nowadays in many surgical procedures in operating theatres. The robots do not carry out the tasks autonomously but rather assist the surgeons in their work. Technological advances, e.g. improvements in computer performance and in the imaging processes form the basis for this development.

In the SPIRITS project, the project partners are now developing an assistive robot specifically for radiological problems. In interventional radiology, percutaneous procedures are carried out using image control for the treatment of, for example cancerous diseases, in which the blood vessels supplying the tumour are closed or tumour-destroying treatment (cryoablation, radiofrequency ablation) is carried out. The problem to be solved is that using current imaging procedures such as CT or MRT, safe and targeted insertion of the needle by the doctor is very difficult on safety or space grounds. The assistive robot would make this possible for the doctor by remote control.

The research work for the development of assistive robots connects the various technologies and interdisciplinary skills of the partners: an easy-to-use tool holder with a hydraulically controlled robot arm will be produced using 3D printing. The remote-controlled needle system will act intelligently and be equipped with a tactile feedback system and a force sensor in the needle tip which will improve the efficiency of the needle insertion. HFU's role in the project (AG Mescheder, iMST) is to realize a tactile feedback system using microsystems technology with which the doctor has a tactile awareness of the force caused during the insertion of the needle.


Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA) de Strasbourg, France
Furtwangen University, Germany
Faculty of Medicine, Mannheim of the University of Heidelberg, Germany
Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Switzerland
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland


University of Mainz, Germany
Alsace Biovalley, France
Axilum Robotics, Strasburg, France
Memry GmbH, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Handy Tech Elektronik, Horb-Nordstetten, Germany
Sensoptic, Losone, Switzerland
iSYS Medizintechnik, Kitzbühel, Austria
Baur, St. Aubin-Sauges, Switzerland

Project duration: 04/2017 – 03/2020


Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mescheder
Board of Executives, Faculty of Mechanical and Medical Engineering
Vice President Research and Development, Technology transfer
Director of Institute for Applied Research
Tel: +49 (0)7723 920-2232
Fax: +49 (0)7723 920-2633
Furtwangen Campus, Room B 1.10
Email: mes(at)