Technology and medicine students at NTNU are brought together in a workshop to find out how the future hospital operating rooms should look like.
By Ingvild Forseth
An early Saturday morning, 18 students gathers at the innovation collective FRAM NTNU to help “The Operation Room of the Future” (FOR) solve real hospital problems. FOR is a collaborative between NTNU and the St. Olavs hospital that was established to develop an integrated university clinic. The day starts off with the leader of FOR, Jan Gunnar Skogås, painting a vision of what future hospitals can look like.
DRIV NTNU is a professional and social meeting place for NTNU students interested in innovation in the health care sector, and the host of the workshop. The organization aims to create interdisciplinary cooperation between students that can take on the challenges ahead. In that regard, DRIV NTNU has teamed up with the research facility.
– We need new solutions to cumbersome methods. Through this workshop we will get input from students and facilitate relevant theses. In the future, we might not need the operating room or even the surgeon. Instead, the patient might swallow a robotic pill that will do the work, says Skogås.
Supports students to further develop their ideas
This is the first day of the workshop, which will take place in a total of two days. The first day involves presentation of the problems the students will work with. Then, two weeks ahead, the students will present their ideas to a jury from FOR. The winner will get their hands on a really cool prize, according to DRIV NTNU leader, Milena Egiazarian.
– If everything goes as planned, the winning team will get approximately 20 000 Norwegian kroner to further develop their idea. They can use the financial support to do what they want, for instance develop a prototype or go to a conference, but we want to know their plans. It is important that the students get support for further development in addition to a nice experience, Egiazarian says.
A rotating chair and remote clinics
After the highly topical problems is presented, the students are put to work in groups. Student Sara Edvardsen is in a group that has chosen to work with solutions to a decentralized outpatient clinic for skin treatment. The idea is to enable remote doctor’s appointments through high resolution images and tactile feedback.
– I participate in this workshop because I want to work with medical electronics. It is much more fun working with technology to help someone. I want to direct my master thesis in Electronics Systems Design and Innovation towards medicine, says Edvardsen.
Other problems put up for the teams to solve are how to produce 3D display from a 2D recording, or the construction of a rotatory chair to treat balance disorder such as crystal disease.
Two weeks with work and mentoring
The sound level raises and gets loud in FRAM once the groups proceed in their work. There is no doubt that the students are enthusiastic about their tasks. Each of the groups is supported by a mentor from Spark NTNU, to help the group with the entrepreneurial aspect of the task, and professionals from FOR.
In the two weeks ahead, the groups will continue to work with their mentors before the day of presentations. At the end we have provided you a short YouTube video to show what the future for hospital operating rooms are all about. Engage will wait with excitement to see what innovative solutions the groups have come up with!