During my research period at the Technical University of Munich, I had the unique opportunity to develop a novel robotic platform with a total of 5 axes for the manufacture of engineered prostheses in the cardiovascular field. This experience was not only highly educative from a professional perspective but also enriched my personal growth and opened new horizons.
Research and Development Context:
The Technical University of Munich is a prestigious research institution renowned for its excellence in the field of tissue engineering. My research focused on creating an advanced robotic platform with 5-axes based on the melt-electro- writing technique. This innovative platform aimed to enable efficient and precise production of customized cardiovascular prostheses, marking a significant advancement in the field of cardiac prosthetics. It allowed for the fabrication of intricate structures with biocompatible materials tailored to the unique needs of patients. One of the distinctive features of this robotic platform was its control system. It was operated through an innovative slicer developed on the Rhinoceros platform and utilizing Grasshopper, a visual programming language for parametric design. This unique slicer enabled precise and intricate control over the robotic arm movements, ensuring a high degree of accuracy in the manufacturing process. Forthe first time in the field of melt-ElectroWriting, we succeeded in fabricating complex 3D prostheses with concavities (e.g., heart valves and bifurcated vessels).
Throughout this research experience, I acquired a set of fundamental skills critical for the success of this innovative project. I learned to design and build industrial robots with 5 axes, specialized in melt-ElectroWriting. Additionally, I gained expertise in programming advanced control systems that integrated seamlessly with the robotic platform, allowing for precise and customized fabrication. Working with a variety of biocompatible materials was another essential skill I developed. The combination of these skills allowed usto produce prostheses with unparalleled accuracy and complexity, pushing the boundaries of what was previously achievable. In addition to the technical aspects, I honed
essential skills related to project management. The need to meet strict deadlines and the complex nature of the project necessitated efficient time management and organizational skills. This experience improved my ability to plan, track progress, and ensure that the project advanced steadily.
Collaboration and Teamwork:
One of the most valuable aspects of this research period was the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The international team at the Technical University of Munich provided a rich environment for knowledge exchange and innovation. Working with scientists and engineers from around the world allowed me to understand various research methodologies and approaches. This experience was instrumental in broadening my perspective and refining my ability to work harmoniously in a multicultural setting, a skill that is increasingly relevant in the global research community.
Personal Impact and Future Collaborations:
This research experience was not only professionally enriching but also profoundly impactful on a personal level. The connections I established with the talented researchers I collaborated with went beyond the confines of the project. These connections have evolved into lasting friendships and a network of professionals I can rely on for future research endeavors. Furthermore, my time at the Technical University of Munich inspired me to continue exploring the possibilities of the melt-ElectroWriting technique in various medical applications. The success of this project has opened doors to potential collaborations and research opportunities in other areas of healthcare, and I am eager to
capitalize on these prospects. In conclusion, my research period at the Technical University of Munich was an extraordinary and transformative experience. The development of a robotic platform with 5 axes, based on the melt- ElectroWriting technique for cardiovascular prosthesis production, was not only groundbreaking but also a testament to the power of international collaboration and innovation. This experience has left an indelible mark on my professional and personal growth, and I look forward to applying the skills and connections gained to drive future research projects in the field of medical engineering.
Pietro Terranova, student at University of Palermo.