MILORDS: a global boost for Tuscany’s imaging and robotics expertise
The MILORDS project aimed to improve the safety and efficacy of medical and surgical procedures by developing cutting edge ultrasound and digital radiology technologies in the Tuscany region of Italy. The advances have the potential to significantly benefit patients across Europe, to help reduce healthcare costs and to boost European technology firms looking to tap into the lucrative global imaging market.
" In the past few years, Tuscany has seen the development of an excellent technological cluster based on optolectronics and robotics for medical devices. This project has given regional enterprises in this field access to global markets in laser surgery instruments, applied robotics and diagnostics imaging. "
A key result of the project has been the development of a prototype medical robotics platform, designed to carry out diagnoses and minimally invasive laser surgery that can be adapted to several medical applications for humans and animals. In order to truly maximise this success, several project partners have set up an innovative start-up company in the field of medical devices named Imaginalis.
This company, which was established in May 2013, aims to build upon the project’s work and bring European imaging expertise to the global market. Imaginalis is headquartered in Tuscany, where all of the production process takes place.
Regional roots, global ambitions
The success of the project was made possible through tapping into diagnostics, advanced laser surgery and robotics expertise within the Tuscan region. With regards to eye surgery for example, a robotic micromanipulator capable of making precise measurements was developed for corneal transplants procedures.
At the same time, the project successfully attracted foreign capital to invest in the start-up. The presence of a foreign investor inside Imaginalis has given tech firms in Tuscany the opportunity to access new capital markets, which could lead to new commercial relationships.
Imaging for animal surgery
At present Imaginalis produces two imaging devices for the veterinarian profession: VIMAGO and PEGASO – which is targeted at bigger animals such as horses and camels. The company also produces a new software package that offers high added value imaging. The next step will be to offer innovative technological solutions for human diagnoses. Furthermore the application of Imaginalis technologies can be expanded into other sectors; for example, non-invasive imaging can be used in both the agri-food sector and leather industry to improve quality control.
Sales are currently expanding throughout Italy, Europe and abroad. In the United Arab Emirates for example, buyers and distributors are interested in using the imaging devices for camels and hawks.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “MILoRDS Project - Minimally Invasive Robotics Laser Assisted Diagnosis and Surgery ” is EUR 7 897 305, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 487 157 through the “Regional Research and Innovation” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.