NIMIT (Novel Instruments for Minimally Invasive Techniques) is a world-leading centre for research and development of devices for minimally invasive techniques. The solutions developed by NIMIT aim to change the playfield of minimally invasive therapies and medical imaging.

Minimally invasive interventions are critical to improvement of healthcare efficiency, enhancement of the quality of care provided, and cost reduction. The major advantages of these techniques are: reduced risk of wound infection, shorter recovery time, reduced postoperative pain, and shorter hospital stay. All will lead to a proven faster resumption of regular activities, and reduced working hours for the nursing staff. Easy access for the interventionist to all parts of the body through small incisions, will make new procedures possible.

Access to every region of the body is currently not possible because of the complexity involved in the miniaturization of therapeutic and diagnostic devices. To facilitate further progress in minimally invasive interventions, instruments must become even less invasive and have to provide access to deep anatomic structures. This requires fundamental changes to the traditional engineering approach. Tailored, slender and multi-steerable instruments with adaptable stiffness and with transmission of force information using new sensors, such as biocompatible force sensors, need to be developed to overcome the current limitations. Additionally, new technology to support instrument navigation is required.


The mission of theme Minimally Invasive Technology is to develop (affordable) innovative devices and procedures for minimally invasive interventions with an added value for science, society and business. These devices should be easy-to-use instruments, capable of safely and effectively reaching all critical parts of the body. NIMIT’s solutions will have a major impact on conventional treatment and on post-operative care. Breakthroughs are anticipated through collaboration between engineers and clinicians from different disciplines.


NIMIT’s objective is to be a world-leading center for research and development of new devices for minimally invasive techniques. The challenge NIMIT faces is the development of instruments which are able to reach, diagnose and treat tissue at any location in the body, whilst preventing damage to healthy, delicate tissues. The key technologies that are developed within NIMIT focus on a drastically reduced invasiveness of inserted instruments, on tissue characterization, biocompatible sensors, image guidance in interventions and easily usable techniques. The proposed activities within NIMIT cover the complete innovation chain from problem definition to product.



The Navigate

In minimally invasive interventions, a thin, hollow needle is inserted to facilitate local diagnosis or bring treatment precisely to where it is needed. However, getting the needle to the right spot is a challenge. The NAVIGATE project promises to help doctors to quickly and efficiently guide needle … Lees meer

Steerable Shaft Actuated Tip Articulation (SATA) Punch

The Steerable SATA Punch, which leaded to a patent and spin-off called Surg-on Medical, is the first fully detachable and therefore reusable arthroscopic cutter that has a sideways articulation range of 110 degrees. By rotating the shaft this innovative punch allows orthopedic surgeons to reach all … Lees meer

Surgical trainers

In minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon uses telescopic tools that enter the body through a small incision. One of these instruments is a tiny camera, allowing the surgeon to see what he’s doing, albeit in an indirect way. Surgeons could practice their hand-eye coordination, but did not get any f … Lees meer

From 15 to 1 instrument in knee surgery: the Steerable punch

The steerable punch reduces the instrument set a surgeon currently uses for key-hole knee surgery from 15 to 1 instrument. Punching the loose part of a knee cap requires a precise approach. Currently a surgeon has a set of about 15 punches, each with a specific angle.  Multiple instrument insertions … Lees meer


Technical leader:
Prof. Dr. Dankelman

Prof. dr. Jenny Dankelman became professor in Minimally Invasive Technology in 2001 and is head of the Minimally Invasive Surgery and Interventional Techniques (MISIT) group of the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology. In 2014 she became a Medical Delta professor. Jenny Dankelman’s work encompasses the design of medical instruments, medical haptics, training and simulation systems, and patient safety. The focus is on minimally invasive surgery, flexible endoscopy, needle interventions, and endovascular interventions.

Medical leader:
Prof.dr. Frank Willem Jansen

Prof.dr. Frank Willem Jansen became professor in clinical evaluation of minimally invasive surgical instruments in 2009, at both Leiden University Medical Center and part time at Delft University of Technology. Since 2000 he is head of the section Minimally Invasive Surgery and Gynaecology and became head of the department of Gynaecology in 2015
Dr. Evelyn Regar is Interventional Cardiologist at the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam. Her research focusses on the prevention of stenoses and on intravascular imaging.