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MPBE Student Voice



MPBE Summer Studentship: Compact robotic manipulator for MRI-guided neurosurgery

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 11 October 2023

Name: Lorenzo Aragon
Degree: Biomedical Engineering
Project Title: Compact robotic manipulator for MRI-guided neurosurgery
Supervisors: Dr Ziyan Guo

I embarked on an exciting summer internship, joining the Compact Robotic Manipulator for MRI-Guided Neurosurgery project. This report highlights my experiences, role, challenges faced, and key takeaways from this enriching opportunity.

Why This Project Appealed to Me:

The project’s challenge of designing a compact robotic manipulator for MRI head coils, minimizing electromagnetic interference, captivated me. My interest in 3D printing and my supervisor’s expertise in stereotactic neurosurgery further motivated my involvement.

Project Description and My Role:

As an intern, I primarily assisted in tasks, such as literature reviews on MRI robotics and hydraulic motor mechanisms, CAD work using SolidWorks, learning manufacturing techniques like 3D printing and laser cutting, and sourcing components. Additionally, I co-hosted the In2Science placement programme for a week, introducing A-level students to STEM fields.

Challenges Overcome and Enjoyable Aspects:

Having only met in-person towards the end of the 3rd week, I was initially quite intimidated at the thought of contacting my supervisor. However, I came to realise that she was someone to guide, not grade, my progress, which improved our collaboration. The hands-on experience, especially 3D printing and troubleshooting, was very enjoyable.

Relationship with Supervisors and Team:

My relationship with my supervisor Ziyan Guo was very positive; she was extremely kind and fostered an environment of open communication and collaboration.

Benefits and Impact:

This internship offered insights into researchers’ lives, including proposal management and deadlines. It reinforced the practical application of technical knowledge, showing how our academic concepts translate into real-world innovations, like how what we learned in our Medical Imaging module can be used to develop MRI-compatible robotic manipulators.

Advice for Future Students:

To future interns, don’t hesitate to contact your supervisor for any reason. Building a strong relationship early enhances the learning experience.

In conclusion, this summer internship has been a transformative journey. It deepened my passion for robotics and medical applications, providing practical skills and insights that will shape my future endeavours. I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to applying these experiences in my academic and professional pursuits.

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