The European Commission has awarded the Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics (DIH-HERO) project with a top-up awarded budget of 3.5 million euros. DIH-HERO has received this reward as the European Commission considers them the best candidate to accelerate the innovation and clinical deployment of robotic technology solutions across Europe. Françoise Siepel, of the Robotics and Mechatronics group (RAM), is serving as coordinator of the DIH-HERO project on behalf of the University of Twente.
DIH-HERO is an independent platform that connects Digital Innovation Hubs across Europe to create a sustaining network for all those who are active in the healthcare robotics sector. Their primary objective is to accelerate innovation in robotics for healthcare. The initiative consists of 17 core partners spread across 11 pan-European countries, and is coordinated by the University of Twente.
The additional top-up awarded budget will be used to remove barriers, making the clinical connection and boost fast, high-quality, impactful large-scale deployment of robots in the clinical setting. Therefore, the main focus will be on broad solutions and technologies related to the current situation including response, recovery and support in daily challenges that are still existing due to COVID-19 and post COVID-19 challenges. Examples include: contactless supply and logistics in the clinical setting, robotic support in fast checks for diagnostics, lifting patients, training devices, social robots, or robotic vaccine delivery.
Françoise Siepel is delighted with the additional investment. “In healthcare robotics, we've mainly seen a technology push. We mainly want to show the value of the technology, but we also want to boost the technology pull from the clinic. That becomes possible with this impulse. We also want to get robots more out of 'controlled' research settings, to make the right adjustments in complex and realistic environments.”