23.01.2024 – Funding for medical robotics project ForNeRo

In the future, robots will assist in operations more frequently and should enable greater precision in surgical procedures in the future. The ForNeRo research project, led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), is now analyzing ways of integrating a wide variety of surgical and imaging systems into everyday surgery. The Bavarian Research Foundation is funding the project with two million euros as part of the Hightech Agenda Bayern.

It is primarily smaller or particularly precise procedures that will soon be performed more frequently on patients with the help of robots. However, this also means that clinical workflows in the operating theater will become even more complex and require the most efficient processes possible. This is where the Research Network for Seamless and Ergonomic Integration of Robotics in Clinical Workflows (ForNeRo) comes in. In the presence of Bavarian Science Minister Markus Blume, the Bavarian Research Foundation’s funding decision has now been presented at TUM’s TranslaTUM at Klinikum rechts der Isar.

Medical scientist Prof. Juliane Winkelmann, Vice President of TUM, emphasizes: “The funding for this highly interdisciplinary project underlines the comprehensive expertise that we have already built up at TUM in the field of medical robotics, among others. The collaboration between science and industry in Bavaria is another example of the synergy required to develop and implement innovative solutions in medicine. At TUM, this approach can be found across departmental and subject boundaries.”

TUM Chair leads the project

ForNeRo is led by the Chair of Ergonomics at TUM and also draws on the scientific expertise of TUM’s Klinikum rechts der Isar, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Together with industrial partners from Bavaria, the team aims to significantly improve workflows in the operating theater.

The multidisciplinary network focuses specifically on the extremely complex challenges of seamlessly integrating robotic assistance systems into clinical processes. The focus is on improving efficiency and safety in the medical field. By using state-of-the-art technologies such as machine learning and augmented reality, the aim is to optimize the planning, placement and use of robotic systems. In addition, the project focuses on the ergonomic and user-centred design of robot assistance in order to optimize workflows and thus relieve the surgical staff.

Interdisciplinary research network ForNeRo

The interdisciplinary research network is formed by scientific and industrial partners. In addition to the Chair of Ergonomics, TUM is also involved in the project with the Chair of Applications in Medicine. The Klinikum rechts der Isar is represented by the Polyclinic for Ophthalmology and the Minimally Invasive Interdisciplinary Therapeutic Interventions research group. FAU is contributing the Department of Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Engineering as a partner, while DLR is involved with the MIRO Innovation Lab at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics.

From industry, the companies Karl Storz VentureONE Germany GmbH, ITK Engineering GmbH, ImFusion GmbH, AKTORmed GmbH and Custom Surgical GmbH are supporting the research alliance.

Image source: Andreas Heddergott / TUM