Technology for Equitable and Accessible Medicine – 2017 Harvard Business School Symposium: Engineering & Entrepreneurship: Innovation in Healthcare

Robert D. Howe. Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering, SEAS

Looking to simultaneously:

  • Improve outcomes
  • Broaden access
  • Lower costs

Team website at

Prof Howe’s work looks at beating-heart surgery – to avoid open-heart surgery and the use of the heart-lung machine.

Around 10 years ago, the technology that enables this – 3D ultrasound – became available. 3D is essential as it makes it easier to do a procedure.

The issue has been instrument artefact problems – with reverberation artefacts and tip reverberation artefacts. Funnily enough, a team in the military had a similar problem with Russian submarines, but couldn’t disclose their solutions as it was classified.

In mitral valve disease, they built a robotic catheter system for beating heart valve repair. It used a 3D ultrasound image processing and visual screening device, inserted a tube into the heart, and used a motorised guide-wire to compensate for the motion of the heart. The process was more accurate.


Check out Boston Intracardiac beating heart surgery collaboration – working with Philips Healthcare.

Websites –

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