How to win a Nobel Prize with Dr Renato Turchetta
We are delighted to welcome IMASENIC to MediSens this year. IMASENIC is a brand new company, set-up by Renato Turchetta, an Advisory Board member for MediSens and familiar industry face. The company is based in Barcelona, Spain, and develops full custom image sensors mainly focusing on bio-medical and scientific applications. We caught up with Dr Turchetta to find out about his new endeavor since we last spoke in December 2016.
We last caught up at MediSens 2016, what have you been up to since then?
It has been a very exciting year since then. At the beginning of 2017 I moved to Spain to start IMASENIC. As you can imagine, the whole year was very busy setting up the company: talking to the first customers, starting the first projects, promoting the name and what we do. That is a lot of work but also a very exciting time, and today as we start seeing the fruit of this work, I can definitively say it was worthy.
Tell us more about IMASENIC
The core expertise of IMASENIC is the design of custom CMOS image sensors, with a strong track record in developing advanced sensors. We can also develop a complete imaging solution, based around our sensors. There is a lot of excitement in the image sensor community nowadays. Pretty pictures have been the main driver for the development of the technology in recent years. They are still important but are often not enough. There is a growing need to go beyond this and get more information about the radiations we want to see. For example, we want to precisely know the ‘colour’, i.e. their energy or wavelength, or when they arrive so that we can find out from where they came and build 3D pictures. The IMASENIC team has a long-standing experience in developing scientific and medical, where requirements of this type are routine. Our team has a deep knowledge of imaging, for visible light and beyond. Many medical applications are based on seeing non-visible radiation. The most obvious one is X-ray imaging. For cancer care, some of the most important therapies use high energy photons or charged particles like protons, and there as well, IMASENIC can offer experience and some unique expertise, like in-depth knowledge of how to the detect radiation and design resistant to the radiation. We want the MediSens community to profit from this knowledge and talk to us so that we can help moving the field beyond the state of art for both diagnostic and therapeutic needs.
What should clients do before they come to you with a brief, what are the essential parts of the challenge that you need to understand before creating an imaging system?
They do not need anything special! An initial idea can be enough! We know about all types of imaging applications, so we can help them moving their idea forward, even if it is just sketched, making it into a viable project and finally into their next successful product. Every imaging project is different and every customer has their own way of working, and we are happy to adapt to their style. It is part of our mission to be committed to our customers and we have already received excellent feedback from our clients.
How do you feel about seeing products you’ve developed over your career gaining popularity in new markets?
It is, of course, always nice to see products gaining popularity and bringing something new to their users. One of my first sensors was for electron microscopy and it helped the community get better images and eventually achieving the highest award in the scientific community, a Nobel prize. Awarded only a few months ago to three scientists in this area. This sensor has been not only a scientific but also a big commercial success, with the company in charge of their sale eventually being the object of an important acquisition. Seeing the success of your products motivates you even more to make the next successful ones.
Barcelona is a vibrant and exciting city be in, has the recent political upheaval affected the start-up community?
Not in the slightest! Barcelona remains one of the innovation capitals in Europe, with many high-tech events taking place in the city every year. We have not seen any change and plan is as usual for the future as well. The start-up and high-tech community continues to thrive and grow. Barcelona has also a very strong research community and an excellent location in the South of Europe, giving it a lot of potential for becoming a growth generator for Europe and beyond. Barcelona is well connected at transport level, making easy to set up business everywhere in the world.
What’s your favourite thing to do in the city?
That’s the hardest question! There are quite a few nice things to do in the city. I love architecture and Barcelona has a lot of offer, especially with its modernist buildings. Even outside of the most touristic places, there are some amazing buildings with stunning features, which make well worth walking around this beautiful city.
As a member of the MediSens advisory board, are there any sessions you’re keen to watch?
Each of them has its own interest, but if I really had to pick up one, I would set my eyes on the morning session of the second day. There is a strong need for new imaging tools for radio and proton therapy. Treatments tend to be set up off-line and in advance, so they cannot take into account changes before or movements during the treatment.
What else are you looking forward to most at MediSens 2018?
Beyond the talks from recognized specialists in their field, MediSens is an excellent opportunity for networking, so I look forward to many interesting conversations and talks. At IMASENIC, we think we can help the community moving the image quality forward, thus improving healthcare for everybody.
Come along to MediSens this month to meet IMASENIC. Discounts on ticket prices still apply – Book yours today!