KUKA INNOVATION AWARD: THE RESEARCH TEAM BY THE BIOROBOTICS INSTITUTE WINS THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION THAT DEVELOPS NEW ROBOTIC SOLUTIONS FOR SURGICAL TREATMENTS

The BioRobotics Institute’s team coordinated by Arianna Menciassi wins the “KUKA Innovation Award 2020 – Medical Robotics Challenge”, the international competition of medical robotics organized by KUKA, a leading company in the production of industrial and collaborative robots. The Italian team convinced the jury with its innovative concept (called HIFUSK - High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Surgery based on KUKA robot) for a non-invasive surgical procedure using state-of-the-art technology. The team is composed by: Arianna Menciassi (coordinator), Andrea Mariani and Laura Morchi (Phd student), Selene Tognarelli (Project Manager), Andrea Cafarelli and Alessandro Diodato (Research Fellows).

"Our project - explains Arianna Menciassi - combines the flexibility of robotics with the power of focused ultrasound. This system increases the accuracy and therapeutic opportunities of focused ultrasound-based surgery, a non-invasive and safe alternative to traditional surgery."

In the 2020 competition, the KUKA Innovation Award’s international jury of experts received a total of more than 40 ideas. The five finalist teams had time until November to implement their ideas. A KUKA LBR Med lightweight robot – the first robotic component to be certified for integration into a medical device – has been made available to them for this purpose. The winner of the KUKA Innovation Award 2020, worth 20,000 euros, is Team HIFUSK from the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.
HIFUSK can address unmet clinical needs in the treatment of pathological tissues, like cancerous tissues. HIFUSK is the marriage of 2 technologies: robotics and focused ultrasound. Such a combination results in a surgical treatment that is precise thanks to robotics and non-invasive (no incisions, no anesthesia, no ionizing energy) thanks to focused ultrasound. Robotic control and machine learning algorithms ensure safety even in case of target motions during the therapy. We validated our platform in a dry lab/ex-vivo scenario and we received the approval for in-vivo tests of HIFU robotic treatments.