Making implants during surgical procedures: The future begins in Maastricht

It sounds like something from the distant future, but one day it will become reality. Staff of the engineering department IDEE (Instrument Development Engineering & Evaluation) have been designing and producing implants that can be inserted into patients whilst they are undergoing surgical procedures. The Faculty of Medicine of Universiteit Maastricht is the first faculty to use this new technology. But how does Rapid Prototyping work? Frans Smeets, head of IDEE, explains.

Great interest in PhD study

Every cream, shampoo or soap has to be tested before it goes on the market. For more than sixty years, the cosmetic industry has used the Draize Test for this purpose. This entails applying a product to the eyes of rabbits to see whether they become irritated. Researcher Dr Bart De Wever recently attained his doctorate on research into an alternative method that gives comparable and perhaps even better results, namely cultured human tissue.

Biomaterials: the new generation

Tuesday, 06 September 2005 00:00

UM, azM and DSM join forces in Bioterials consortium

A real revolution is going on in the world of biomaterials. ‘Passive’ biomaterials, such as artificial hips, stents and silicon prostheses have been used since the fifties. Their most important quality is that they react as little as possible to their environment in order to prevent rejection. They make room for a new generation that, on the contrary, does interact with the surrounding tissues. Polymer technologists of DSM and scientists of UM/azM have joined their forces in the Bioterials project. In the next four years they will develop biomaterials for a better treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Prof. dr. ir. Leo Koole, extraordinary professor of Biomaterials and project leader from UM/azM, can hardly wait to get going.

‘Gains to be made on all fronts’

About one thing Dr. Jan-Willem Goossens immediately wants to be clear: he did not write a blueprint for a completely new organization of the train traffic in the Netherlands. He also established during his five years of research in the Netherlands and abroad that there are too many uncertain factors to guarantee a punctual timetable. “But,” he says, “We have developed mathematical models, which show that actually improvements are certainly possible. For the customers this would mean more seats, and for the transport company more efficient use of people and equipment. So, gains on both sides.”

UM scientists participate in European project with education portfolios

Being able to prove your capacities without formal education. Easily explaining your educational past to an educational institution. That is all possible with an education portfolio. Universiteit Maastricht (UM) works together with several partners in a European electronic portfolio project, called the European Portfolio initiatives Co-ordination Committee (EPICC). The aim of the project is to coordinate the various electronic portfolio initiatives and to make these portfolios interchangeable. The EPICC project works in two ways. Besides the educational component that is guarded by the UM team under the coordination of Erik Driessen, the committee also works on the technological element of electronic portfolios.


Monday, 28 June 2004 00:00

Car maintenance from a distance

When you go with a reasonably modern car to a garage for a service, you know that these days they use computers to establish the condition of the vehicle. These cars are equipped with sensors that monitor and file technical information about failures that occurred since the last maintenance service. The mechanic only has to read these data to know what he has to do. Modern technologies, such as wireless communication and smart mobile devices even make it even possible to carry out this inspection and diagnosis from a distance. The European research project MYCAREVENT aims to improve the aftersales repair sector by providing the service technicians with information, tools and technology to service cars of diverse make and models.

Intelligent opponents make computer games exciting again

Once you know how to beat the opponents in a computer game, you can repeat that trick over and over again to win. After all, characters will not suddenly decide to adjust their attack. They are not programmed that way. At some point, there is no more fun in it for the player. Pieter Spronck of the Faculty of General Sciences therefore investigated the possibility to add intelligent opponents to existing computer games. "I developed a technique, Dynamic Scripting, which allows the computer to anticipate the tactics of the player." Spronck hopes to receive his doctorate in the beginning of 2005 for this research into machine-learning techniques in computer games.

Where is the A2 tunnel?

In Culture
Friday, 02 April 2004 00:00

International interest in ‘obduracy’ of urban structures

At the end of the eighties, the city of Utrecht decided to rebuild shopping centre Hoog Catharijne. Years later, Amsterdam wanted to start a large renovation of the Bijlmer district and ever since the seventies, Maastricht has had plans to tunnel the A2 motorway that runs through town. Every one of them ambitious projects that came to hardly anything in practice. According to Arts and Culture scientist dr. Anique Hommels urban renovation is often a tricky problem. "Once a city is built, a sort of ‘hardening’ of the existing architecture and infrastructure seems to occur, which makes it very difficult to change. An intriguing phenomenon."

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