In Conversation With Frederic Vacher, Head of Innovation - 3DEXPERIENCE Lab At Dassault Systèmes And Renuka Srinivasan, Brand Director – SIMULIA, Dassault Systemes, India
Apart from life-sciences, another focus was on our start-up accelerator program, powered by our 3DEXPERIENCE Lab.
1. Tell us about the showcase at CES 2022, including how can start-ups utilize Dassault Systemes Digital Fabrication Lab (Fab Lab) to develop their prototype?
Frederic Vacher: Our showcase booths at CES 2022 were focused on demonstrating our Living Heart and Living Brain Projects, allowing visitors to experience their own virtual twin and participate in mock clinical trials. Through these interactive and immersive experiences, we wanted to help visitors understand the next horizon in life sciences and healthcare - that it’s possible to visualize, test and even predict surgical outcomes or the way drugs affect a disease!
At the booth, the journey began with a volumetric light experience that, starting from a photo taken of a visitor which displayed a larger-than-life virtual twin of their head. This mirror image then revealed a rotatable brain that pulsated in colors and patterns symbolizing various disease states. Next, the visitor saw an animation of their heart. With every heartbeat, the virtual twin increased in size until it expanded into particles revealing the silhouette of the visitor. This was an interactive showcase and the virtual twin mirrored all movements of the visitors before it dissolving into a data cloud.
Our next showcase was to engage visitors in augmented reality experiences that demonstrate the Living Heart and the Living Brain – two initiatives currently being used by researchers, device manufacturers and doctors to develop highly accurate virtual models for reproducing conditions and testing treatment options. The visitors could hold, rotate, and squeeze a 3D-printed replica of a heart and a brain, each with embedded sensors and processing components, and see their actions mirrored in a virtual twin on a connected touchscreen in real time. As the visitor interacted with the physical model of the brain, they could explore its hemispheres on the virtual twin, and learn more about their function.
We also encouraged visitors to join a mock clinical trial to discover how our Medidata solutions are being used in the development of the world’s top pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
Apart from life-sciences, another focus was on our start-up accelerator program, powered by our 3DEXPERIENCE Lab. One of the start-ups, showcased at the event was Lucid Implants. Based in Pune, the start-up is manufacturing personalized Craniomaxillofacial (CMF) and neurosurgical implants. Our 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is an integral part of their complete, end-to-end solution which seamlessly integrates virtual surgical planning for 3D presurgical simulation, customized anatomical models for evidence-based mock surgical evaluation, intraoperative patient-specific surgical guides for surgical precision, and personalized implants for perfect fitment.
Our 3DEXPERIENCE Labs are open innovation spaces that tap into the collective intelligence and foster entrepreneurship with a cross-collaboration approach while trying to positively impact society. We encourage interested start-ups to submit their projects for consideration and be mentored by our incredible ecosystem of innovators and industry leaders.
2. How does Human Virtual Twin technology bring together biosciences, material sciences and information sciences? Please tell us a bit more about this process.
Renuka Srinivasan: Essentially, the virtual twin experience is a new way of representing the world. It starts with a 3D model that represents the shape, dimensions and properties of a physical product or system, and then simulations are run on that model to explore how a product or system will behave when assembled, operated or subjected to a range of events. Decisions are captured and linked in the twin.
While virtual twins of non-organic objects (like airplanes or cars) have existed for some time, it is now seeing extension into the organic world to improve the human body and other forms of life. The 3DEXPERIENCE® platform is helping create a virtual twin experience of the human body, offering a space where modeling, simulation, information intelligence and collaboration are integrated to advance and transform understanding of human life.
In the case of a human organ, muscles, tissues and other organic material are modeled. Many times, this also requires multiple physics to be considered – fluids (for blood flow) or electrical behavior (for impulses in the brain or heart), for example. The Living Heart model is a 3D representation of an adult male heart built with heart tissue and structure, and includes advanced fluid-structure-electro-physiological modeling. It is completely adaptable to mimic an individual person or a population.
By recreating a specific patient’s organ, doctors can virtually test out multiple surgical options and then arrive at the optimal intervention. By leveraging the virtual twin, custom implants and single-use
patient-specific instrumentation can be designed for complex surgeries. The wealth of health data that is now being tracked and accumulated combined with data science technologies opens up even more possibilities. Machine learning combined with virtual twin could allow for predictive healthcare.
3. Basically, as it combines art, science and technology, it is very advanced and ensures precision, but how does it make it possible to understand "the invisible to represent the visible"?
Renuka Srinivasan: By virtually simulating a human organ, one can gain an insight into its behaviour and also study the response under various conditions – diseased state, when an implant is added, etc. In the real world, it may not always be possible to “see” the behaviour of all parts of an organ. More importantly, in the virtual twin, it is possible to view the impact of different surgical options and then decide on the best option.
For example, one of our customers, Boston Children’s Hospital runs computer models of the complex cardiovascular reconstructions to determine the best treatment for their patients. By simulating the different surgical options virtually, they are able to assess the blood flow distribution post operation for each intervention, and this is one of the factors that helps them decide on the surgical approach. Similarly, in India, Sahajanand Medical is using our 3DEXPERIENCE® platform for cardio-vascular research.
4. Can you share some potential / actual use cases for surgical outcomes?
Frederic Vacher: Absolutely! In a short span of time, the Virtual twin technology has made strides in some ground-breaking work by medical representatives across the world. Use cases for using simulation or data sciences to preoperative planning and surgical outcomes are available even today!
One such start-up is BrainSightAI which creates AI-based diagnostic tools that can help in functional investigation of the brain. They have been using our 3DEXPERIENCE® Platform for leveraging the AI-based software which helps in diagnosing mental disorders using MRI scans and helps neurosurgeons in pre-surgical planning especially for comatose or cognitively challenged patients.
The EPINOV project leverages the Living Brain to address epilepsy. Estimates suggest that approximately 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the common neurological diseases. The virtual models display the physiology of each patient’s brain together with its dynamic, electrical behavior helping surgeons identify the zone to operate on.
We have many more such applications of the Virtual Twin Model in life-sciences and pharma industry, and CES 2022 was a platform to engage with customers on the same
5. What are Dassault Systemes' projections and expansion plans for Virtual Human Twin in 2022?
Renuka Srinivasan: Based on our experience with the Living Heart and Living Brain models, Dassault Systemes is making advances in other parts of the human body. Lung, knee, skin and cells are some of the other areas we are working on.
Dassault Systemes is collaborating with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a five-year project that will culminate in an in silico clinical trial using the Living Heart model to create a focus group of virtual patients. This groundbreaking project with the Living Heart simulated 3D heart model will examine the use of heart simulation as a source of digital evidence for new cardiovascular device approvals. Use of in silico clinical trials would accelerate the approval of novel drugs and approaches making them available to patients sooner while still adhering to rigorous safety standards.
All of these are steps towards the ultimate goal of a patient-centric healthcare that is personalized and predictive.