The core competences of the Medical Engineering & Neuroprosthetics Department lie in the fields of development, manufacturing and application of intelligent, implantable assistance systems including complex health information systems. It thus offers the whole range, from the implantable microelectrode, right up to IKT infrastructures, whereby this overall offer also covers Regulatory Affairs including a development-accompanying risk management system. All of the necessary technologies and laboratories are available.
The focus of the working group Neuromonitoring lies in device technology and methodology for the measurement, conditioning and transmission of bioelectric potentials. This also includes vital parameters that can be influenced by neuronal structures (e. g. temperature, blood pressure, breathing, eye movements, skin conductance etc.). This gives rise to questions in the area of sensors, signal processing, data transmission and signal analysis. Another approach involves the use of suitable stimulators to build up closed-loop systems. This will allow the development of different energy-autonomous, distributed actuators and sensors, for example for the vigilance analysis of pilots on long-distance flights (KF2267414GM2) or for intraoperative neuromonitoring (01EZ0722).
The research work of the working group Neuroprosthetics includes the development, manufacturing and characterization of implantable microelectrodes, whose use will open up new fields in neuroprosthetics. The use of microsystems technology allows the production of ultralight, flexible microimplants made of biocompatible materials for multicontacting of nerves and for the control of implantable assistance systems. The working groups developed, for example, interfaces for the stimulation of the retina (01IN501H4), and of the vestibular system (EU225929) as well as for bidirectional applications for the intuitive motor control of hand prostheses including sensor feedback (16SV3697).
The focus of the working group Silicone Technology lies in the optimization and functionalization of PDMS structures, This will make actuators and sensors for medical engineering possible with completely new properties and applications. Examples of this include all-polymer electrodes, whose optimized mechanical properties make them especially suitable for use in the musculature (16SV5367).
The working group Health Information Systems develops personal health systems and intelligent assistants for senior citizens and chronically ill persons, telemedicine systems and disease management platforms with integrated decision support, as well as innovative IKT infrastructures for clinical research, and big data applications for semantic medical information extraction and analysis. Examples of successful developments of the group include the "Personal Health Manager" for the chronically ill, the biobank system solution "eurocryoDB" for the management of biomaterial resources, or the ontology-based study management system "ObTiMA". The working group is also working on intelligent, ad-hoc, networked, plug and play-capable medical devices and sensors, and represents the institute in the Fraunhofer alliance Big Data.
© Photo Fraunhofer IBMT, Bernd Müller.