Expert in synchrotron radiation based microtomography, biomaterials
Developing artificial muscles based on hundred thousands of dielectric electrically activated polymers layers on the nanometer scale for the treatment of fecal incontinence
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UniBern/Klinische Forschung
Expert in  model driven security
Lukas Brügger
Expert in the application of numerical methods to study skeletal biomechanics as well as avascular soft tissues
Philippe Büchler
Cantonal Hospital Schaffhausen
Expert in surgical techniques for artificial bowel sphincters, 3D
MRI for detection of traumatic intra-abdominal haemorrhage and
parenchyma injuries
Franc Hetzer
Cantonal Hospital Schaffhausen
Expert in reliability of electronics, micro-electronics and nano-devices and materials, physics of failure and failure analysis, measurement technology
Urs Sennhauser

Project Description

One of the largest markets, still under-developed by medical device companies, is the treatment of urinary (UI) and fecal incontinence (FI). The demographic changes in western countries will lead to a significant increase of incontinent people. For instance, FI affects nearly 10% of people over 60 years of age, and about 2 million people in Europe have daily severe FI, which is one of the most devastating of all physical disabilities, since it affects self-confidence and personal image, and usually leads to social isolation. The success of current treatments is disappointing because of numerous complications including infections that often require device removal and the extended use of diapers. The aim of the proposal is to realize prototype devices acting as artificial muscle, termed anal sphincter, to finally treat patients with severe FI. The device should replace the destroyed natural muscle function using low-voltage electrically activated polymers (EAPs) controlled by implemented pressure sensors and the patient. 

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Read the Project Presentation

Our researchers in the media

Using physics to solve medical problems

Innovations Report: Research Project for Developing an Artificial Sphincter

Project aims to create artificial sphincter implants

Highly Endowed Research Project for Developing an Artificial Sphincter

Notable publications

Nanotechnology in the treatment of incontinence
V. Leung, C. Gingert

Molecular beam deposition of high-permittivity polydimethylsiloxane for nanometer-thin elastomer films in dielectric actuators
F. M. Weiss, F. B. Madsen, T. Töpper, B. Osmani, V. Leung, Bert Müller
Materials & Design 105 (2016) 106-113

Stress measurements of planar dielectric elastomer actuators
B. Osmani, E. Aeby, Bert Müller
Review of Scientific Instruments 87 (2016) 053901

Tailoring the mass distribution and functional group density of dimethylsiloxane-based films by thermal evaporation
T. Töpper, S. Lörcher, F. Weiss, Bert Müller
APL Materials 4 (5) (2016) 056101


Posters from 2016

Compliance Assessment of the Anal Canal
Tobia Brusa, Daniel Abler, Radu Tutuian, Lukas Brügger, Peter Studer, Christian Gingert, and Philippe Büchler

Compliant Au electrodes on wrinkled and functionalized polydimethylsiloxane for dielectric elastomer actuators
Bekim Osmani, Hans Deyhle, Tino Töpper, Florian M. Weiss, Vanessa Leung, and Bert Müller

Polydimethylsiloxane thin films for dielectric elastomer actuactors characterized by spectroscopic ellipsometry
Tino Töpper, Bekim Osmani, Florian Weiss, Vanessa Leung, Bert Müller

Posters from 2015

Electronics and Power Supply Implants for an Artificial Anal Sphincter
Dominik Bachmann, Marcel Held, Rolf Brönnimann, Urs Sennhauser

Driving forces, surface morphology and mechanical properties of single-layer dielectric elastomer actuators
Bekim Osmani, Tino Töpper, Florian Weiss, Vanessa Leung, Marco Dominietto, Simone Hieber, and Bert Müller

Polydimethylsiloxane thin film preparation for dielectric actuators
Tino Töpper, Bekim Osmani, Florian Weiss, Vanessa Leung, Marco Dominietto, Simone Hieber, Bert Müller

Biomechanical Model of the Human Anal Sphincter Complex
tobia brusa, daniel abler, philippe büchler, lukas brügger, christian gingert, johannes heverhagen, franc hetzer, and bert müller

Posters from 2014

Smart Artificial Sphincter Biomechanical & Clinical Aspects
Elisa Fattorini, Tobia Brusa, Philippe Büchler, Christian Gingert, Franc Hetzer, Lukas Brügger

EAPs for Smart Artificial Sphincter
Tino Töpper, Bekim Osmani, Florian Weiss, Carla Winterhalter, Vanessa Leung, Bert Müller

Posters from 2013

Smart artificial sphincter
T. Toepper, E. Fattorini, F.Weiss, L. Bruegger, P. Buechler, S.E. Hieber, Franc Hetzer, M. Wieland, U. Sennhauser, C.Gingert, M. Held, B. Mueller


Project Photos