Controlling hemodynamics in CBS

At LifeTec Group we are continuously working to improve our existing platforms, to provide our clients with the best ex vivo environment possible. Our services are aiming to provide a great experience to researchr or training projects by making our facilities and clinically relevant life-mimicking simulators available and accompany this with a skilled engineering team that makes sure that the test environment will work as you would expect. In that way, our guests can fully focus on implementing their therapy and learning from the study results. Focusing on our heart simulators, these require extensive understanding of cardiac hemodynamics to re-create the desired setting for a given intervention. Our latest research is focusing on making the Cardiac BioSimulator platform more user friendly, even when LifeTec engineers are not around.

The aim of this project is to have a microcontroller to manage the Cardiac BioSimulator in the same way an engineer would do: be able to tune to relevant hemodynamic conditions in a safe and fast manner. In a way, it can be seen as adding a cruise control function to the Cardiac BioSimulator. With this solution implemented our engineers could spend more time helping clients during experiments, or during trainings their presence might not be needed all the time. This is not an easy challenge, because personnel that uses this platform, be it LifeTec staff or external users, undergoes long training and requires extensive hemodynamics knowledge to control such a platform. In the next paragraphs we want to tell you something more about the progress that we're making.

The automation challenge

The project to automate pressure and flow control started in early 2020. Mattia, leader of this project within LifeTec, has set up a collaboration with the Electrical Engineering faculty at the Eindhoven University of Technology, joining forces with dr. Mircea Lazar. Mircea was fascinated by the project presented by LifeTec and eager to help with his extensive knowledge in systems control. Together, we defined an internship project and we were happy to work with Ivar de Vries who recently finished his internship at LifeTec Group.

Ivar studied how the Cardiac BioSimulator works and created an extensive simulation model that could replicate the behaviour and interactions of the circulation system on a computer. As the modelling and simulations progressed Ivar also designed the prototype control electronics and embedded software: a dedicated PCB to make the hardware as small and portable as possible and a software implementation of the simulation model. At the same time, the engineers of LifeTec were designing automation compatible components that could be controlled electronically.

 

A promising prototype

After the experiments in the lab Ivar managed to make sure that the controller response to the system was fast and safe enough for its use in everyday practice. The controllers had to be robust to account for hearts of different sizes and an always changing setup. Therefore, the system was equipped with feedback as well as feedforward  control loops.

Although Ivar could not present in front of a 100% physical audience, his innovative research work fostered further discussion and potential collaborations between LifeTec Group and the electrical engineering department at TU/e. The next step of this project within LifeTec Group is to fully integrate this technology in the Cardiac Biosimulator and expand it to other R&D platforms such as the PhysioHeart™ and BioLiver.

This project was also made possible thanks to the Stimuleringsfonds grant that LifeTec Group was awarded in 2020 by MetropoolRegio Eindhoven.

Soon in our lab!

Of course we cannot wait to have this technology operational in our lab and use it as a standard feature in the Cardiac BioSimulator experiments. Before doing that, we are running extensive tests with our engineers to fully validate the controller and make it as robust and user friendly as possible. Are you interested in how this technology or a modification of it that could help you? Don't hesitate to get in touch with our team to know what the possibilities are!

Head of MedTech Innovation

Marco Stijnen

R&D Engineer

Marcel Wijlaars

R&D Engineer

Mattia D'Alessi

R&D engineer

Dave Wanders

R&D Engineer

Bart Smeets

Please contact Sheila for more information

Partner Relations Manager
Sheila Owen
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