OPENMIND – On-demand production of entirely customised minimally invasive medical devices is a project that aims to develop a flexible technology for manufacturing medical disposables. The project will create a first generation of new minimally invasive medical devices (like guide wires, catheters, micro instruments) compatible with MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) technology. The innovative demonstrator device will be manufactured without any macroscopic metallic components and based on fibre-reinforced plastics, offering multi-modal compatibility (X-Ray, CT and even MRI).

OPENMIND will develop a new production chain. The advanced system will be based on FRP (fibre-reinforced plastics) production processes (micro-pullwinding) and will adapt FRP processes in order to introduce a completely new generation of multi-modal minimally invasive devices that will be widely customisable by doctors. The use of innovative FRP material is important for the mechanical individualisation of the device; in fact, the strength and stiffness of the product depends on fibre orientation. By carefully choosing high tech fibres with a multi-material profile, the devices are neither magnetic nor electrically conductive. This gives the new devices the unique property of being fully and inherently MRI safe, boosting the evolution of MRI from a sophisticated diagnostic technology to a powerful therapeutic tool.

Funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, OPENMIND is an initiative led at international level in 6 different countries: Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, France and Czech Republic. The 9 scientific and technical partners involved are: Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT (coordinator), Diribet spol. s.r.o., IRIS Technology Group, Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, Nano4imaging GmbH, Blueacre Technology Ltd, Tamponcolor GmbH, Gimac International and ICS – In-Core Systèmes.

The project will last 3 years, from September 2015 to August 2018.