Microsystems for VAscular diagnosticS and inTervention

BioRobotics Institute Role: 

Project Lifetime
Dec 2011 to Dec 2013

Funding Institutions: 

Fondazione Cassa di Risparimio di Pisa

Research Program: 
Project for scientific and technological research in the area of Micro or nano system for Biomedical Engineering
Grant no.: 
Prog. 153/09
SSSA Total Cost: 
Contribution to SSSA: 
Dedicated website: 

The MicroVAST project aims at developing innovative strategies for diagnosis and therapy in the vascular system, which represents one of the most challenging scenarios for medical robotics. The platform encompasses strategies from the macro- to the micro-scale, by conjugating micro-tools (e.g. magnetic capsule, functionalized micro-particles) with external actuation, mainly magnetic and acoustic energy. Different modules will focus on pre- intra and post-operative innovative strategies, together with the enforcement of existing technologies.

What we do: 

In this framework, the Surgical Robotics group is involved in the development of a softly-tethered magnetic robot to be driven with an externally generated magnetic field; ultrasound imaging will provide real-time feedback on position and orientation. A focused ultrasound thrombolysis strategy will be integrated within the system, together with the adjunction of micro-bubbles to enhance cavitational effects. A magnetic system for debris collection is under investigation to avoid embolization. Finally, the unique feature of the project is that all the partners are in the district of Pisa, thus facilitating communication between the members, in accordance with the intrinsic multidisciplinary aspects of the project, and aiming at developing an excellence in cardiovascular medicine in the territory.


Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, The BioRobotics Institute (coordinator), National Research Council, Institute of Clinical Physiology University of Pisa, Department of Oncology, Transplantation and New Technologies in Medicine University of Pisa, Department of Pharmaceutical Science, Microtech srl

Media - pictures: 



Menciassi A., Caramella D., Trivella M.G., and Dario P., "A novel robotic platform for vascular intervention based on magnetic guidance", International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 6(Suppl.1), 2011.

Tognarelli S., Castelli V., Ciuti G., Di Natali C., Sinibaldi E., Dario P., and Menciassi A., “Platform for magnetic propulsion and ultrasound tracking of endovascular devices”, Journal of Robotic Surgery, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 5-12, 2012.

Miloro P., Sinibaldi E., Menciassi A., and Dario P., “Removing vascular obstructions: a challenge, yet an opportunity for interventional microdevices”, Biomedical Microdevices, 14(3), 2012.

Khorami Llewellyn M., Dario P., Menciassi A., and Sinibaldi E., "Magnetic Dragging of Vascular Obstructions by Means of Electrostatic and Antibody Binding," in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2012), St. Paul 14-18 May, 2012.

Palagi S., Lucarini G., Pensabene V., Levi A., Mazzolai B., Menciassi A., and Beccai L., “Wireless swimming microrobots: design and development of a2 DoF magnetic-based system” in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2012), St. Paul 14-18 May, 2012.

Miloro P., Khorami Llewellyn M., Tognarelli S., Ciuti G., Sinibaldi E., Dario P., and Menciassi A., “An innovative platform for treatment of vascular obstructions: system design and preliminary results” in IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob 2012), Rome 24-27 June, 2012.

Meet the team