The EDAM focus area at the University of Minho ended the year of 2017 with an Engineering Design Roundtable entitled “The route to SMART IMPLANTS: a glimpse into 2028”, jointly organized with the research center CMEMS-UMinho (through the Project HAMaBICo), which was held on December 15th, at the Campus of Azurém - University of Minho.

Following the trend from the previous roundtables, this one discussed the recent developments on the field of medical implants in an attempt to foresee its next 10 years. The reason for choosing the year of 2028 to name the roundtable was due to a quote from John Maynard Keynes:

“[in 2028] for the first time since his creation, man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, [….], to live wisely and agreeably and well”

This was written in 1928 (he was looking 100 years ahead), and in very simplistic manner he predicted that by 2028, men will be free from the daily burden. He made this essay from an economical perspective, but this Roundtable brought it to the implants’ scope.

With four major talks, given by:

  • Inês Pinto, Cell Mechanics Laboratory, INL (Portugal);
  • Michael Gasik, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Aalto University (Finland);
  • Lia Rimondini, Department of Health Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale (Italy);
  • Filipe Silva, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CMEMS-UMinho (Portugal);

The roundtable bridged cell physiology, concepts, design and manufacturing throughout the day, promoting large periods of discussion. The debates were also focused on understanding cells behavior around implants and on materials, concepts and new hybrid subtractive-additive technology for development of new type of implants. The idea was the development of implants able to interact with host tissues rather than just being accepted by host tissues, e.g. active implants rather than passive implants. It is expected that these new ‘smart’ implants are able to constantly interact with surrounding cells redirecting their response (even remotely controlled, when needed), thus increasing their long-term survival. Implants should survive during the whole life of the patients instead of existing implants whose life is about 10 to 15 years.

The roundtable led to the discussion of some interesting ideas that researchers from different companies and universities will now try to put into the form of innovative solutions.   

Overall, more than 40 persons actively participated in the roundtable, including PhD students, researchers and faculty members.

The EDAM-UMinho team is already planning the next Roundtable that will take place in February 7, 2018, and will be dedicated to the “Engineering Education in the 21st Century”. Further details will soon be given.

EDAM Roundtable