What are operation theatres going to look like in the future?

Last fall the newest addition to the NTNU innovation family was added.

By Erik Klevar

Last fall the newest addition to NTNUs innovation family was added. The innovation lab at Medisinteknisk forskningssenter (medicine-technical research centre) at St. Olavs Hospital is run by DRIV NTNU and the faculty of medicine and health science at NTNU. DRIV is a student organization that aims to create collaboration between health professionals and technologists. While the innovation lab was officially opened in November of last year the organization DRIV has been open for business since December 2017.

Working together on prototypes
Working together on prototypes

With the year fast approaching easter,  it was time for an event that sought to introduce the students at the campuses Øya and Gløshaugen to each other and give them an arena to collaborate across their fields of studies. Some thirteen students from disciplines such as cybernetics, electrical systems and medicine were grouped in cross disciplinary teams for the workshop. The workshop is called Health-Tech Challenge and is a collaboration between several actors at NTNU with the Operation Room of Tomorrow  (Fremtidens Operasjonsrom).

Milena Egiazarian, is a Medicine student and the leader of NTNU DRIV. She also co-founded the organization.

“It all began when I talked to a friend of mine who’s also interested in research, medicine and technology. We saw that while the campus at Gløshaugen was a big innovation hub we lacked the same infrastructure at Øya. We also missed talking with people outside our campus. Through another friend in Spark* we got in touch with more people in other student societies, word of mouth spread the idea and DRIV opened up”, says Egiazarian.

What exactly is going on here tonight?

“Health-Tech Challenge is a workshop arranged in collaboration with Fremtidens Operasjonsrom (the Operating Room of the Future , FOR). The participants get to work in cross study teams with real problems doctors face in the operating theater. The students are presented with the problems from FOR and given two weeks before they get to present their solution. This year the groups even made prototypes! We arrange the workshop to provide a gathering for students with interest in health tech innovation, and also to give them the opportunity to create a network. We hope that the participants get a glimpse of what it means to work in teams with people from other fields of study. Last but not least we want to give the health professionals the opportunity to share their problems and get ideas for new solutions”.

The students were asked to provide solutions to two problems presented by faculty members at NTNU. One of the problems encountered by medicine professionals today is that they might miss the intended trajectory when boring in bones. Boring through bones is for example used  when placing hip prosthesis or when replacing the bone from the pelvis to the leg, and could lead to the angle of the leg being out of order and giving patients a limp or a painful life.

As in any challenge a winning team was announced on the 18th of March, two weeks after starting. Four teams presented their solutions to a panel consisting of a representative from FOR, one representative from Engage, one representative from NTNU Health and one alumni from NTNU School of Entrepreneurship. The winners were Kerar Zayiadi (cybernetics), Abir Al-Dekany (medicine) and Håvard Ulsaker (medicine). They were praised for their simple-to-use solution that makes it easier for orthopedic surgeons to operate prosthetic implants.

Kerar, Abir and Håvard who won the challenge
Kerar, Abir and Håvard won the challenge

Kerar, pictured on the far left gave Engage some of his thoughts and comments about his experience with DRIV and the innovation lab at Øya.

Why did you come here tonight, Kerar?

“I have a feeling that everyone at Gløshaugen wants to get the next big idea. I participated because I wanted to hear what kind of problems the professionals struggled with. Everyone in cybernetics want to work on innovative project and I’m no exception”, Kerar explained.

What did you learn from the workshop?

“I never knew how tough an orthopedic surgeon is with hammers and chisels on their patients. I thought that the workshop would have some interesting projects to work on and I’ve learned a lot about orthopedic procedures. We started out with an idea of what we were going to do and compared our solutions to other products on the market. We tried to keep it simple and the approach worked”.

The panel used more than an hour to come to a conclusion but in the end the winners got their diplomas and the workshop was over for now. DRIV NTNU does not have any events planned for the remainder for the semester.

Want to know more about the innovation lab and what goes on in the innovation environment at Øya? You can visit DRIV NTNUs Facebook page here.

All pictures by Leander Pantelatos / DRIV NTNU.