Here We Go Again

Examination period is over and I could not be happier! To be honest, when ETH exams were getting closer I was not quite sure about whether I was going to make it. At the end, however, all the sleepless nights and tense moments added up to lots of new knowledge and some nice grades in my transcript so I really feel all this effort has been worth it.

In addition, the Spring Semester 2017 is starting tomorrow and I am really excited about it! In the next few months I will learn about Game Theory, Theory, Programming and Simulation of Neuronal Networks, Statistics for Experimental Research and Wearable Devices among many others.

If I had to pick only two I would go for Industry and Competitive Analysis which teaches you a very practical set of methods to quickly obtain a good grasp of an industry. By the end of the course, I should be able to understand factors that impact on the financial performance of an industry as well the financial performance of firms within it.

The second course I am very thrilled about is High Tech Start-up Management, a seminar organized by the HSG and the ETH that gives insights into conceptual knowledge and methods for the development of scalable business models. Since it is not a regular course, it had an individual application process so I am really proud they selected me!

What have I been up to these days? Well, after finishing the exams I flew back to Barcelona and started putting together my brand new 3D printer. I still have to callibrate it (which will be a major headache) but you can already see the pictures of the assembling process and the first prints!

Furthermore, I kept working on the pulmonology project (let us call it DeepBreath from now on) and even though we had a lot of trouble cutting the respiratory cycles (and this is the reason why the classifiers were not performing as intended) it seems that we have finally found a proper way to do it. As you can see, the preliminary results look promising:

image

Finally, Medmake (the association I co-founded with my colleague Joan Puig) was hired by Hospital Sant Joan de Déu – Althaia (Manresa, Spain) to teach a group of twenty-five extremely motivated doctors how to turn medical images such as CT or MRI scans into 3D models that can be printed afterwards. The best part is that it does not end here: there will be an incoming session in which we will sit together with these doctors again and discuss their particular clinical cases.

Last time I did such a collaboration was an incredible success. Together with the cardiology team from Hospital Clínic (Barcelona, Spain) we developed an intervention planning system to aid TAVI procedures.

Do not know what TAVI means? Transcatheter aortic-valve implantation (TAVI) is a technique that provides an alternative for high-risk patients in need of an aortic valve replacement. Currently, the only clinical effective treatment for severe aortic stenosis is valve replacement but, unfortunately, one-third of the patients cannot undergo surgery because of several risk factors. TAVI provides an alternative for such patients.

More than 40.000 transcatheter implantations have been done since 2012 and the potential market is large. However, TAVI procedures are about 20.000€ more expensive per patient and in one-third of cases there are complications afterwards. Good news are that these potentials adverse effects could be partially avoided improving patient selection, intervention planning and aortic sizing with the support of medical imaging. This is why we builded up an intervention planning system that will help cardiologists to find the more well-suited implant for each patient. If you are curious about it, please take a look at our published article!

In conclusion, I strongly believe this kind of interdisclinary collaboration between technical and medical professionals is critical to solve the current and future healthcare challenges and I can only celebrate the hospital’s commitment.

 

Merry Xmas!

It is Xmas time and 2016 is almost done! When I think about it, it has been such an awesome year. My life in Zürich just started but I already have many new friends and we are all part of a great university.

I keep working on the medical project involving machine learning. Last Friday we finally manage to run the first tests and got an accuracy of 65%. Not bad but there is certainty a lot of margin for improvement. As my colleague rightly said, we should not expect to get things right first time but rather keep iterating until we finally suceed. I feel it would have been a pleasant surprise and may we even call it a xmas miracle? I can only agree with him though. Where would be the fun otherwise?

In addition, he also gave me the most amazing present ever: I was having trouble understanding harmonic oscillators so he wrote a short story in which Newton, Leibniz and Feynman explain them for me. You can read the story too. I also encourage you to visit his blog. I am pretty sure he is a future Nobel Prize in Physics so he will be telling you about the frontiers of science.

More good news: I am the 11th winner STEM Scolarship Winner of Toptal worldwide prize and I am extremly excited!! This prize is not only a major recognition but it will also provide me with some financial help and an amazing Python mentor that will make my project go full steam ahead. I have not skyped with him yet but his name is Atanas Pavlov and he has ten years of experience working in computer modeling and data analysis.

logo-stack-pythonOn the other hand, I am planning to use my scholarship money to get a new computer (of course, with Linux inside) so that I can work on data analysis properly. I also have enrolled myself in a Python for Data Science and Machine Learning Bootcamp and I have bought a 3D printer so that I can  have an even wider active participation in initiatives like E-nabling the Future or The Hand Challenge. Below there are some pictures from our last workshop.

I only would like to finish wishing you the best in the year to come!

 

 

 

 

 

Winter is coming!

Winter is coming, ladies! Winterfell or Zürich I am dying of cold and it seems the worst is yet to come. However, I will not let anything spoil the moment because I am having such an incredible time..!

It has been a couple months since I started my masters at ETH and I am finally getting the hand of it. I have also learned a lot about Linux these last days and it is, indeed, not as difficult as it might seem although the learning curve is pretty steep at the beginning. This just means it will take you a bit longer to fall in love with your operating system.

Selecció_046(001).pngAnother big discovery has been Bastli, which I find one of the coolest places at ETH. Bastli is the electronics laboratory of AMIV (Akademische Maschinen- und Elektro-Ingenieur Verein) and it offers students free workplaces and tools to implement your own projects and ideas.

Among many other cool stuff, they have a couple of 3D printers which is great because it means that even though I am not in Barcelona anymore I can keep helping in social initiatives I love like «E-nabling the Future» or «The Hand Challenge». Actually, I am going back to Barcelona in a couple weeks because, as I told you in a previous post, I am the co-founder of Medmake, an association that offers 3D printing services and products for healthcare professionals. We have collaborated with several regional hospitals, organized 3D printing courses and taken part in a wide range of social initiatives to promote technology among girls like </Girls in the lab>. We even made it to the national TV recently! So as you ladies can guess, we are pretty excited about it.

This time the American Embassy from Madrid has invited us to the inauguration ceremony of the «American Space» in Barcelona. We will be in charge of a technical workshop for kids and teens to motivate them to go into computer science or engineering when they grow up. Awesome, right?

However, it does not end here! I came to Zürich to become a medical innovator, to find a team of people that truly believe there is nothing impossible and start working on something great. And this is precisely what I have been doing: interviewing several doctors to find real world needs, screening the needs they mentioned, brainstorming to come up with possible solutions, selecting the winner idea… and I am finally ready to begin the implementation part.

biodesign2Unfortunately, I cannot give you ladies many details about the project yet (otherwise I would be doing a public disclosure!) but I promise you all it is an amazing software project that will give me the chance to use and improve a lot my machine learning skills to help pulmonologists (i.e. doctors in respiratory medicine).

motivationIf we succeed, the idea is to patent the software and develop a b usiness model around it but we still have a long hard way to go! Innovating in the medical field is certainly not easy but there are some resources that can be very helpful (like the book «Biodesign: the process of innovating medical technologies» by Yock, Zenios, Makower et al.) and the great reward of knowing you are working to improve the quality of many lives.

Linux, text books and Gruyère

Grützi, ladies!! A couple of weeks ago I started my Biomedical Engineering Masters at ETH (Switzerland) and I couldn’t be happier. It’s an amazing university and so many cool events happen at the same time that you barely have time to sit down and study (or write a blog)!

eth.png

Among many other cool things, this last week I joined AMIV (Der Akademische Maschinen- und Elektro-Ingenieur Verein), the ETH Entrepreneur Club and the BEEZ (Biomedical Engineering ETH Zürich) and I am pretty sure I’m still missing a lot because the possibilities are endless.

Another great change in my life has been my computer. I’m still working with the same but now it runs on Linux! Linux is generally more light-weight and less resource heavy than Windows which is great for my old friend. For those of you that might not know what Linux is, I recommend you the following tutorial on youtube. 

wallpaper-204126

As commented in the introductory tutorial, although a lot of work has gone into making desktop Linux distributions more user-friendly over the last ten years, there is still a pretty sharp learning curve. This is why first it may be a good idea to install Linux into a virtual machine such as VirtualBox and decide afterwards if you are ready to make the leap. In easy words, a virtual machine is an application that allows you to install additional operating systems, known as “guest systems” within another operating system “host”, each with its own virtual environment. For example, you could install different GNU/Linux in VirtualBox installed in Windows 10 or vice versa.

There are also many online courses to get you started and some books for Linux beginners. However, learning Linux might still take you some time and effort. This is why I decided to join a series of workshops organized by TheAlternative.ch, an ETH student organization that wants to encourage usage and comprehension of Free and Open Source Software (also known as FOSS) as an alternative to proprietary software. LinuxDays are starting next week and will continue all month so hopefully by November I won’t be a newbie anymore. Wish me luck!

 

How to turn your Webcam into a Microscope

We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.

Victor Hugo

University is about to begin again and I am really excited! It will be my first semester at ETH Zürich and I cannot wait to meet my future colleagues. In the meantime, I have been working in the low-cost microscope I told y’all ladies about in my last post.

 

Probably, you are wondering how a webcam can become a microscope. This is indeed magic because it is so simple! BBC Science explains it really well in the following article so that everyone can do it.

How can a webcam become a microscope?

The webcam’s digital camera works by capturing light through a small lens on to a CMOS or CCD image sensor.

The sensor converts the picture into a digital format that is transmitted to the computer usually via a USB cable.

The lens on the camera is designed to take a wide-angle view and focus it on to the small sensor.

But if you flip the lens around, this process is reversed and the very small image appears magnified instead.

This way a basic webcam should be able to achieve 200x magnification.

 

Amazing, right? If you are not sure of how CMOS or CCD sensors work (I had only a vague idea myself) I recommend you the following tutorial.

I used an old webcam I had at home and I am quite happy with the results (about 50x for free!) although I couldn’t get 200x magnification as claimed in the article but maybe with a newer camera it would work even better!

resultats

Google Chrome Icon on phone screen

The image above is part of the results I obtained and it is a picture of my phone screen. Can you see the rgb leds? I think it is pretty cool!

I also discovered that using this very same principle other people already built digital microscopes (I have been scooped!) and since they cost the same as a new webcam (yes, I destroyed my old webcam so I need to buy a new one) I think I will get one of these instead.

microscopi.PNG

To conclude, I would like to mention something that made me feel so proud of myself for a little while. One of my Linkedin contacts saw my projects on GitHub and decided to collaborate: he is helping me to improve the cardiology project code. GitHub is really working!

 

 

I’m on vacation

My dear techie ladies, trying to positively impact the future can be really exhausting so right now I’m on vacation.

Cover-5032.jpg

If you can’t sleep because you keep thinking about my skin cancer computer-based detection system, welcome to the club. Cool stuff can be really hard to achieve sometimes but I guess that’s what makes it so interesting.

Right now I’m in ETH Zurich in Switzerland, trying to solve some paperwork issues so that next year I can start my masters there. I’m really excited about it! So excited that I nearly forgot the fact that I may have to sell kidney in the black market to pay for the rent (just kidding, it probably woudn’t be enough).

See you in a few days!

The Hand Challenge

I couldn’t write anything until today because this last week has been extremly exciting but also exhausting. The 3D printing summer course has been a complete success and soon we are going to appear in the national TV!!

Let me start from the beginning though. As I told y’all ladies, I was hired by my university to organize a 3D printing summer course for high school girls to encourage more women to persue a technical career (in Spain we are less than 20%). The course took place a couple weeks ago (4-8 July) and we wanted to do something big. That’s how we decided to take part in The Hand Challenge. 

cf7f29_dc7a389696854fa99ab50e344689dceb.png

 

The Hand Chanllenge is a wordwide initiative from Dr. Chris Craft that challenges classes from all around the globe to 3D-print, assemble and ship to the US a prosthetic hand. From the US, the prosthetic hand will be sent to a children in need.

It’s a great idea because the kids do not only learn about prosthetics and 3D printing which as a biomedical engineer I find extremly interesting but also see the social impact of their work and motivates them even more. In our case, it had a double goal since it was meant only for girls, to encourage them to study a technical degree later on.

The girls were splitted in two teams and worked very hard to built their prosthetic hand. One of them it’s a Batman hand, like the superhero, because prosthetic kids rock! The other one is inspired in the Disney movie Frozen and you really feel like a princess wearing it.

Here you can see a few pictures of the summer course, the one in the middle of the first picture it’s me!

More than 7 countries and 76 classes have already taken part in the challenge but we are the first class in Spain and the second class in Europe to complete the challenge. I couldn’t be more proud of my girls! What else can I say? Bravo!

But I’m not the only one who thinks these little ladies are amazing and the proof is that the national TV has come to interview us all. We will be appearing on TV any time soon!

cf7f29_9ef4269badd3431fac056ad9357e7601-mv2_d_5312_2988_s_4_2