Soft Robotics, Nanotech and the Next Technological Leap of Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction affects 50 million men in North America, with 25% having severe erectile dysfunction where medications do not work and treatment is limited to penile implant surgery. There has been minimal development in related technologies within the past 40 years with particular limitations in reliability, natural feeling, and risk of severe morbidity during surgical placement. Thus, a need exists for a novel device designed to address these concerns.

Dr. Ryan Flannigan and Dr. Hadi Mohammadi are proposing to utilize soft-robotics alongside customizing the physical and chemical properties using nanotechnology to provide a more natural feeling for treating erectile dysfunction. These improvements will be more appealing while removing barriers for potential patients to receive appropriate surgical care.

Through reducing the complexity of the penile implant placement this will decrease the risk of morbid complications such as bowel, bladder, and vascular injuries. Replacing a manual pump with a hydraulic-based actuator, that will be controlled by a low power electronic unit attached to a Bluetooth wearable device will improve ease of use, and reduce barriers for men. This design will introduce a new generation of penile implant.

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