Interview: Hannah Riedle 

Hannah is a research associate at the Institute for Factory Automation and Production Systems of the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg. She lives in Munich, where she also studied medical technologies at the faculty of mechanical engineering at the TU Munich. Her research concentrates on 3D printing of medical models and devices based on anatomical image data. Hannah is also current Munich community manager and will be a speaker at the Munich event on November 23rd, 2017.

Q: What inspired you to use 3D printing for your work?

A: 3D printing allows us to manufacture anatomical designs more freely, without as many constraints as conventional manufacturing. Many of the models we are working on would not have been possible without it.

Q: What is the biggest motivation for your work?

A: I like seeing how a simple idea can turn into something real and useful. There are still so many possibilities about how to use 3D printing in medicine; we just have to start thinking about them.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in your work?

A: Since anatomical structures, compared to mechanical structures, have almost exclusively free-form surfaces, designing and handling them is not standardized and only certain software tools can be used it. Another challenge is 3D printing itself since it is still relatively new and in constant development, which means there is still a lot to be learned.

Q: How do you approach working with people with different backgrounds?

A: I am a medical engineer and have been lucky to be included in many interdisciplinary projects, which taught me that the interests and focuses of medical professionals, manufacturers, and IT experts vary a lot.

Q: How do you plan to conquer this challenge?

A: I just try to listen and focus on what is important for each group.

Q: What is your vision on the potential impact of your current work to the future of medicine?

A: I hope the anatomical models we are working on can support the education of medical professionals, help the evaluation of newly developed medical products and one day will also be patient specific and used to improve individual surgery outcomes.

Q: What is the biggest change/improvement since last year this time?

A: Our first actual prototypes have been designed, manufactured and most importantly tested in a surgical education session.

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Life.

Q: What is the biggest risk you took in your career?

A: I took a job at FAU Erlangen instead of in my hometown Munich.

Q: What do you enjoy in your spare time?

A: I like traveling, being the outdoors and spending time with friends.

ACEO Biomodeling, 3D-Silicon-Druck, Hannah Riedle