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Turning to nature for inspiration
Date:2/19/2011

Liu is also developing new touch sensors to improve minimally invasive surgery techniques. Currently many minimally invasive procedures are conducted through a catheter that is inserted into the body and controlled by a doctor on the outside.

"During a heart treatment, the doctor controlling the catheter has no sense of touch and cannot tell if the catheter has touched the heart wall and successfully completed the therapeutic treatment," Liu explains. "We want to use microfabrication technology to put sensors on the end of the catheter to provide feedback."

In order to achieve his goals, Liu has assembled a multidisciplinary team that includes biologists, engineers, materials scientists and physicians. A mix of fundamental and applied research is necessary to make biologically inspired sensors a reality, he says.

"Using a bio-inspired approach is really important," Chang says. "Nature has a lot of wonderful examples that can challenge us. No matter how good some of our technology is, we still can't do some of the basic things that nature can. Nature holds the secret for the next technology breakthrough and disruptive innovation. We are on a mission to find it."


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Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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