TU Dresden: SEMECO revolutionizes the medical electronics industry

The project partners of the BMBF’s SEMECO future cluster are convinced that the future of medical technology lies in the combination of digital innovation, safety and improved approval processes. The federal government is funding the collaborative projects with up to 45 million euros over the next nine years.

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In May, project work starts in the future cluster SEMECO (Secure Medical Microsystems and Communications) with partners around the Technische Universität Dresden. The goal is ambitious: To break the innovation logjam in the medical technology industry, accelerate innovation cycles and revolutionize conventional approval processes with the support of artificial intelligence (AI). “The SEMECO future cluster is Europe’s first cluster for medical electronics that is oriented toward medical needs. We want to increase the pace of innovation for smart medical instruments and implants. AI-supported regulatory technology, modular system architecture and dedicated microsystems are the focus here,” said project coordinator Prof. Gerhard Fettweis at the launch.

Academic institutions and manufacturers are working closely together.

The technological basis of many medical devices today is far behind what we are used to from smartphones, for example. The reason for this is the current instead of modularized still mostly monolithic development of the devices. This slows down the speed of development. On the one hand, products are becoming more and more complex, while at the same time approval is also becoming more and more costly. “Our vision is to develop modularized and digitally networked medical devices and implants more quickly and bring them to approval. The challenge is to close the gap between the latest technological possibilities and practical application in medicine,” says Fettweis. “In our cross-sectional and application projects, manufacturers and academic institutions therefore work closely together in interdisciplinary teams. The goals of the alliance are: Gentler and better diagnostics and treatment, more modern work, affordable innovative medicine, and highly integrated networked products that are approved more quickly,” said project coordinator Prof. Jochen Hampe.

Regional innovation promotion in cross-sectional and application projects

At the academically and industrially leading location for microelectronics, communications engineering and explainable AI, the future cluster offers ideal conditions for innovative and sustainable cooperation in the environment of the Technical University of Dresden, the Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health, the 5G++Lab Germany and the Barkhausen Institute. A key strength of the Future Cluster lies in the primarily, but not exclusively, regional bundling of scientific excellence of leading research and industry partners. To support the regional science and business community, the Free State of Saxony has promised funding for further application projects in the first phase. In the SEMECO Future Cluster, scientists are working together in eight different projects. The cross-sectional projects focus on solving fundamental architectural, organizational and technological issues. The application projects access the core technology depending on the content requirements and put the SEMECO concept into practice.

The four cross-sectional projects.

  • With the help of strong technology partners, a modularized, scalable, secure and trustworthy platform for medical microsystems will be created.
  • The project partners are developing a modular, AI-enabled framework for the certification of medical microsystems.
  • The project provides a reliable and trustworthy communication platform for applications in the clinical environment as well as in remote monitoring.
  • The project promotes the economic translation of SEMECO concepts and social dialogue.

Four examples of the application projects.

  • A project enables a new generation of computed tomography scanners by replacing traditional data transmission with a dedicated wireless solution.
  • Another project is developing a novel communication implant that goes far beyond the functionality of today’s hearing aids.
  • One project aims to replace the classic patient monitoring. In the future, sensors stuck on with patches will transmit various health data easily and wirelessly via a modern broadband connection.
  • The project team is developing an active smart capsule endoscope that has adaptive anchoring mechanisms, tissue and liquid biopsy sampling capability, and a broadband chemical sensing system for in vivo microbiome mapping.

Background Clusters4Future.

With the Clusters4Future competition, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research promotes excellent primarily regional networks. In the second round of the competition, SEMECO (Secure Medical Microsystems and Communications) was selected as one of seven winners from 117 submissions by an independent jury of experts. The first of up to three possible implementation phases will start in May 2023. For an initial project duration of three years, SEMECO will receive funding of up to 15 million euros. The project term can be extended to up to nine years with correspondingly increased funding. SEMECO is coordinated by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Fettweis (spokesperson) and Prof. Dr. med. Jochen Hampe (vice spokesperson).

Further links.  

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