Transforming healthcare with 5G
Food, fashion and art – that’s what pops into most people’s minds when they think of Italy. But the country is so much more than a cultural and gastronomical powerhouse. It's also a springboard for medical advances. Today, Tuscany is a hotbed for innovation in healthcare, with many universities and organizations performing research in the biomedical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields. Two companies in particular, Imaginalis and El.En, are leading cutting-edge research in this area.
Imaginalis, an Epica International Group company, researches, develops and produces robotic imaging medical devices for human and veterinarian applications. They’ve created a number of diagnostic imaging tools that accurately visualize internal and external structures in 2D and 3D. Currently they are focusing on developing new 3D CAT scan and robot-assisted surgery technology, with the aim of making procedures safer, easier to perform and less expensive.
El.En is also looking to improve treatment options with their state of the art laser equipment which will benefit a wide range of areas, from dermatology and dentistry to sports medicine and surgery. Their research also has wider industrial applications, such as for use in the cutting, marking, and welding of materials, as well as for decorating leather and fabrics and restoring artwork.
Looking to advance their research and push the boundaries of biomedical and robotic technologies, the two companies have teamed up with Ericsson. The aim of the collaboration is to use Ericsson’s expertise and technologies to make surgery that is more precise, less expensive and reduces side effects for patients.
One of the first activities planned is to aid Imaginalis in advancing remote diagnosis by improving mobile uplink connectivity and data compression to transfer images and perform remote analysis. Damiano Fortuna, CEO and President of Imaginalis, explains: “With 5G wireless connection, the entire workflow could become very easy and intuitive. That could make it possible to perform a pre-planned surgery by an expert surgeon in Cambridge or Boston, when the system (and patient) is located in another part of the world.”
Improved connectivity will also benefit El.En’s research efforts to develop lasers that allow physicians to treat patients with minimally invasive surgery. “We can reduce the invasiveness of the diagnosis by having more sophisticated software, devices and control of the system. For that to work, we need to have a very efficient way of exchanging information,” says Professor Leonardo Masotti, President of the Scientific Committee of the El.En group.
Teaching robots bedside manners
Another way to enhance patient care and health informatics with greater connectivity is through live-in robots that facilitate telemedicine to provide constant critical care to patients. Filippo Cavallo, Assistant Professor at the BioRobotics Institute near Pisa is working to make this a reality: “5G can enable us to implement complex healthcare services and improve the capability of robots to learn to recognize new objects and perform complex tasks. We can have robots to support in assisting elderly people, for example.”
When the robot is connected, a doctor can give instructions for it to visit the patient’s bedside. Using the robot’s two-way audio-visual teleconferencing feature, the doctor and patient can interact and share medical information easily and naturally.
By joining Ericsson’s expertise with leading research in surgical and treatment techniques, robots can have a major impact on society and help us to live better, healthier lives.
Advancing remote diagnosis and robotic assisted surgery
Communications technology and medical expertise have been a powerful combination for enhancing patient care for many years. Remote diagnosis and robotic assisted surgery are commonly used around the world, and the rapid pace with which ICT is evolving means that even greater possibilities for these techniques are becoming a reality.
Remote diagnosis allows a doctor to analyze symptoms from a distance. This is particularly advantageous for rural areas without medical resources nearby and also for patients who are unable to travel to see a doctor, for example. Currently, however, the images rendered from 3D CAT scans, such as those produced by Imaginalis, are several gigabits, and today’s uplink channels are not sufficient for live remote diagnosis. Bringing together specific codec techniques tailored for CAT scan images, and the power and speed of 5G networks, will make complex remote diagnosis possible in the future.
Robotic assisted laser surgery, an application for both Imaginalis – Epica and El.En’s research, is another area that can benefit from such developments. With the aid of a machine, doctors can now perform complex procedures with greater precision and flexibility and minimize the invasiveness of the operation. The next step is to increase the role of the machine to perform the complicated preparations, such as alignment and placement of a prosthesis, before the surgeon operates. This significantly shortens the time the patient is in surgery and helps to improve the accuracy of the operation. However, this is only possible through advances in software and seamless transmission of information.
Explore our industry collaborations
A healing hand – King’s College London and Ericsson
We are collaborating with Dr Prokar Dasgupta, a professor and surgeon at King's College London Hospital to explore how the tactile internet can provide patients around the world with access to remote medical specialists. Learn more about this case here.
Leveling-up education with gaming – King’s College London, Rooplay and Ericsson
We are working with King's College London and Jason Williams at Rooplay to unlock education by making gaming more immersive with cutting-edge 5G technology. Learn more about this case here.
Creating an immersive experience – King’s College London and Ericsson
Together with artist, writer and philosopher Ali Hossaini, we are working to discover how 5G can transform the arts and impact sensory experiences, bringing cultural events to new audiences around the world. Learn more about this case here.
Teach anyone to learn anything – King’s College London and Ericsson
The Internet of Skills can enable anyone to become an expert. Together with Dr Mischa Dohler, Chair Professor in Wireless Communications at King's College London, we are learning how to transfer human knowledge remotely. Learn more about this case here.
Safety is no accident – Boliden and Ericsson
By harnessing 5G technology, Ericsson and Boliden are boosting reliable communications in mines to improve productivity and safety. Learn more about this case here.
Take the road untraveled – Scania, the Royal Institute of Technology and Ericsson
Join Ericsson, Scania and the Royal Institute of Technology as they accelerate autonomous, connected transportation fueled by 5G. Learn more about this case here.
Touch the virtual world – ABB and Ericsson
Ericsson and ABB are engineering robot remote control with haptics, enabling us to realistically 'touch' the virtual world for the first time. Learn more about this case here.
Smart fix – Cramo, Husqvarna and Ericsson
Ericsson, Cramo and Husqvarna have created a pioneering proof of concept for process automation, transforming the tool rental business. Learn more about this case here.
Manufacturing intelligence – SKF, Chalmers University of Technology and Ericsson
SKF, Chalmers University of Technology and Ericsson are launching the next Industrial Revolution, with the help of 5G and the Industrial Internet of Things. Learn more about this case here.
Enabling connected healthcare – AstraZeneca, China Mobile, WND and Ericsson
Ericsson is partnering with AstraZeneca, WND and China Mobile to enhance healthcare services in China through collaboration and the Internet of Things.Learn more about this case here.
Champions in digital sports experience – Paris Saint-Germain and Ericsson
We are capturing and controlling data, as well as producing powerful data visualization, to give unprecedented insight into scouting, player health, scheduling, and so much more. Learn more about this case here.
Securing the cloud for the future – TIM and Ericsson
We are connecting people, objects and the cloud to optimize processes, enhance safety and reduce costs in services enabled by 5G projects. Learn more about this case here.
The robotics – Zucchetti Centro Sistemi, The BioRobotics Institute and Ericsson
In collaboration with the BioRobotics Institute and Zucchetti Centro Sistemi, Ericsson is exploring innovative uses for 5G cloud robotics. Learn more about this case here.
The gateway to Tuscany – CNIT, Port of Livorno and Ericsson
Discover how Ericsson, CNIT and the Port of Livorno are considering ways to transform seaport communications by developing a connected port. Learn more about this case here.
A healthy obsession with innovation – Imaginalis, El.En and Ericsson
Two Tuscany-based companies are combining their research efforts with Ericsson to transform healthcare treatments and improve the lives of patients around the world. Learn more about this case here.
On the road to innovation – Piaggio and Ericsson
In collaboration with Ericsson, Tuscan company Piaggio is using 5G technology to put Italy at the forefront of the transportation sector once again. Learn more about this case here.
We’ve got the X-Factory – Ericsson smart factories
Ericsson factories in Sweden, Estonia and China are fast-tracking the introduction of a new generation smart manufacturing. Learn more about these cases here