RIT Hosts New-Product Development Forum, Nov. 3




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While sitting at a console with 3-D imaging and communication devices, Rochester-based urologist Louis Eichel manipulates tiny robotic arms to help him perform laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery on his patients. Eichel says “human-controlled robots allow for enhanced precision and accuracy.”

Perhaps it’s a small world after all, because according to Eichel, a private practitioner and director of the Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery Center for Urology at Rochester General Hospital—robotic nanotechnology, although in its early stages, is the wave of the future.

Eichel is one of three distinguished speakers discussing “Service Innovation” at the New- Product Development Forum, hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Business. The event begins with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by presentations from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 3, in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Science (Building 70) auditorium. John Ettlie, Madelon and Richard Rosett Chair in RIT’s College of Business, will serve as moderator.

“For the first time, we are 100 percent aligned in our forum meeting topics and speakers with our applied research agenda,” Ettlie says. “Our National Science Foundation grant on service innovation is underway in concert with this meeting on novel service offerings.”

Speaking of innovation on the medical forefront, Eichel says the image-guided nano-robot system is extremely expensive at $1.5 million, but the benefits are immeasurable.

“We are always looking for new instruments to examine tissue in detail and robotic surgery is much less invasive and causes less damage than with a blunt instrument like a scalpel,” Eichel explains. “With microscopic tools we can make smaller incisions, significantly reducing the patient’s pain, blood loss and recovery time.”

“And that’s only the beginning,” he says. “In the future, micro robots will be able to move around like land rovers within cells and tell us their molecular properties. We’ll be able to change their DNA.”

Besides Eichel, forum speakers also include Cortney Guzlas, manager of strategic planning, Truck Electronics Group, and Susan Schway, vice president of customer service, Thomson West.

The RIT New-Product Development Forum, a partnership between RIT faculty and local businesses, is designed to address applied-research issues related to the successful introduction of new products and services.

Registration is required; tickets are $100, with company discounts available. The cost is free for the RIT campus community and NPD Forum members. Parking will be available at Lot J on the RIT Henrietta campus. For more information, visit http://www.cob.rit.edu/, or contact Molly Weimer at 475-7431 or mweimer@cob.rit.edu.