‘Heartwarming and extraordinary’: Hospital of the Future heralded a success at New Scientist Live

Thousands of guests visited the futuristic medical technologies stand The Hospital of The Future by the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, at this year’s New Scientist Live Festival. The exhibit was heralded a success by academics, clinicians, scientists and all interested in the future of healthcare engineering.

The interactive exhibition featured 15 stands showcasing research from within the School including the latest advancements in radionuclide imaging, future surgical instrumentation, surgical robotics, virtual reality, AI enabled technologies, healthcare applications of 3D printing and computational cardiology. One station, virtual reality hearts based on research by cardiologists and software developers, was a particular standout encouraging visitors, through VR, to immerse themselves in a virtual environment with the heart. The technology is to be used for surgical planning of complex heart surgeries.

Robotics demonstrations were also crowd pleasers, including a robotics station led by PhD students Dionysios Malas and Li Yue. A robotic arm, used to demonstrate the degrees of freedom of the robot, had a 3D printed hand attached in place of a surgical tool was an instant hit with children. They also demonstrated an almost-commercialised soft robot for colonoscopies, MorphGI.

An ophthalmology set-up by researcher Ross Henry showcased sophisticated robotics led by Dr Christos Bergeles, used to implant stem cells in the eye as a way to restore sight lost by Macular Degeneration. At the top of the 18mx10m stand, was Superhuman Vision for Surgery led by Dr Jonathan Shapey with by his team of clinical students and researchers. The three-part station involved perfusion imaging, laparoscopic surgery and fluorescence imaging. The novel technologies were based on work by School spin-out Hypervision Surgical.

The Hospital of The Future also included work from industry partner CMR Surgical and a stand with spin-out Cydar showcasing the latest technologies for cardiovascular surgeries. Visitors from Baytree Community Group and Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation (ECHO) also enjoyed the experience, The ECHO group ‘felt confident and comfortable to engage with the exhibition and enjoyed talking to the researchers and getting hands on with the practical interactive nature of the stand.’ One particular highlight saw robotics researcher Ross Henry organised a robotic handshake between the Boston Dynamics robotic dog brought by The UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Kuka robot.

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