05 November 2018

We are working on several subsystems of our simulator in order to find satisfying solutions. In a first step, we are focusing on the anatomy of the mitral valve and a realistic simulation of fluoroscopy.

Mitral Valve

In order to extend our simulator to include intervention in the left atrium, we also need realistic models of these anatomies. These should not be static models, because during a minimally invasive heart operation, the heart keeps beating all the time, meaning the valve moves during the procedure. This should also be displayed on the simulator, which is why we have already created the first silicone models of the mitral valve.

A focus was placed on the realistic movement of the valve. Above you can see the molds for the silicone models below.


Since the surgeon does not have a direct view at the heart during a minimally invasive operation, imaging techniques are available; on the one hand ultrasound and on the other fluoroscopy, which works with X-rays.

In a first step, we focused on the simulation of fluoroscopy. The catheter is tracked in the model with two cameras, such that the exact position of the catheter can be determined and displayed in a graph. This can be seen in the picture above.

The obtained data on the position of the catheter are then inserted into a real fluoroscopy image. On the right side, a real fluoroscopy image (including catheter) and our simulation of it can be seen as a comparison.


Our goal is to reduce commonly occurring errors during minimally invasive cardiovascular interventions. While gaining experience on simulators has become standard practice in the aviation industry there is no satisfying equivalent for surgeons to train for upcoming challenges in their professional life. We are working on filling this gap by introducing a new generation of the Cardex simulator.

The number of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases continues to increase. Many of the interventions, such as mitral insufficiency and atrial fibrillation, require access to the left atrium by transseptal puncture procedure.

Such interventions have not yet reached the level of standardization they should have regarding their mere frequency. This is due to the peculiarity of each anatomy, the complications that occur and the lack of training possibilities for surgeons which would prepare them to overcome such challenges. Different simulators are already available but none of them combine haptic feedback with reproducibility in a satisfying way leading to unreasonably high ongoing expenses.

Using the knowhow gathered by last year’s team we will develop a second generation of the Cardex cardiovascular intervention simulator which will enable the surgeon to train for a variety of interventions, heart anatomies and complications. An instantaneous performance feedback will assess the quality of surgery.


In context of our studies in engineering, we have the opportunity to conduct ‘Focus’-projects during the last year of our bachelor’s degree, giving us the opportunity to realize a venture from the idea up to completion. This way, we gain a unique insight into product development and engineering.

During the next eight months, our team of seven mechanical and one electrical engineering students will delve into the development of a simulator for complex minimally invasive heart surgeries, aiming to present a new interactive possibility for surgeons to train different interventions.

We acquire our knowledge through self-study, dialogue with specialists and by attending lectures about biomedical engineering. The cooperation with the University Hospital of Zurich allows us to develop an in-depth understanding of surgical interventions and to receive feedback from experienced surgeons.

The highlight will be the rollout on May, 28th 2019 at the ETH Zürich, where all Focus project teams have the opportunity to present the result of their effort to the public and the media.

Prof. Dr. Mirko Meboldt
Head pd|z

“The capability to innovate is closely related to the ability to test and validate the product in the application under real world conditions. A realistic hardware based simulator for cardiovascular interventions will be a game changer.”

Prof. Dr. Francesco Maisano
Project Partner

“With the availability of novel technologies, the development of innovative simulation platforms, to replicate various cardiovascular interventions, can help clinicians to advance translational research, education and training.”

The Team

In the next eight months, our team of seven mechanical engineering students and one electrical engineering student will delve into the development of a simulator for complex minimally invasive heart surgery including different anatomies. We thank the last year’s team for the great preparation, which we can take now as a basis for our project. In the end, we present a novel, reliable solution that allows safe training of surgeons.

We will master this challenge through a structured and flexible course of action. We will use our maximal potential by splitting up workloads on one hand and tackling big problems as a team on the other hand.

Mattia Arduini

Sponsoring & Communication


Livio Bereiter



Thibaud Bertrand



Kaspar Bührer



Max Cejka



Julia Gygax



David Helm



Tharshigan Sivakolunthu




When Werner Theodor Otto Forssmann performed the first cathterization of the right heart in 1929 through self-experimentation, he surely did not consider setting the foundation for modern minimally invasive heart surgery.

Its promising field of applications is constantly growing, thanks to extensive research. In contrast, there is a notable lack of well-trained and experienced heart surgeons for certain procedures, as medical education is risky and expensive. Cardex offers an innovative solution to secure a safe and target-aimed training.


Many catheter-based procedures on the heart require access to the left atrium. While being still present at birth, this passage closes off in later stages of growth.

To re-establish this connection, a needle of approx. 90cm length is inserted at the groin. The device is advanced through the inferior vena cava up to the right atrium, to puncture the interatrial septum. The surgeon has no direct vision but guides the needle using fluoroscopy and echocardiography as imaging technologies.

This whole procedure is called ”Transseptal Puncture Procedure”.

Penetration of the atrial septum in the Fossa Ovalis and
insertion of a Mitraclip® into the mitral valve.


Our project is funded by sponsors, with all revenues going into production.
In order for the project to be successfully implemented, we depend on strong partners.

How to support our project:

Patron details

from 1000 CHF
Main sponsor
from 5000 CHF
Premium sponsor
from 15000 CHF
Mention on social media
Logo and link on website


Logo on banner at the official rollout


Logo on team shirts
Attendance at reviews
short description of the company on website
Presentation of the project at a company event
Logo on prototype upon consultation

Individual sponsor

Please feel free to contact us anytime with personal offers. We certainly find a solution that suits your expectations.

For further information we happily draw your attention to our brochure.



ETH Zürich
LEO B 8.4
Leonhardstrasse 27
8092 Zürich


Office: 044 633 82 21

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