New facility for creating miniaturised medical technology opens in London

Engineering

The UK micro-robotics sector has received a fillip following the official opening of a £4 million mini-factory for developing the next generation of miniaturised medical devices and robots.

Located on the premises of Imperial College London, the EPSRC Micro-Machining Facility for Medical Robotics will act as a national hub for academia and industry for developing a range of miniaturised surgical robotics to improve the diagnosis of diseases and drug therapies for patients.

“A mini-factory for developing the next generation of miniaturised medical devices and robots has been opened in London.“

It will house advanced 3D printers for researchers to print components for surgical devices of various sizes, from microscopic to nano-scale. They will allow for precision 3D rapid prototyping of components made of advanced materials such as thermoplastics, photopolymers and metal.

Meanwhile, imaging technology will be available to enable researchers to see the tiny components they are working on in real time, with a micro-machine assembly line also on site to compile new components.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, leader of the new facility, said: "We are already in the process of developing a range of miniaturised medical robots and smart surgical devices that improve the way patients in the UK are cared for."

A team from the university recently came second in the global XPRIZE Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE competition after creating a device that analyses the body's sounds to detect illnesses.

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