VUmc Participations and AMC Ventures Holding contribute together to growth of ForceSense BV
In December 2022, ForceSense B.V. (previously MediShield) – a market leader in laparoscopic training – received an investment from AMC Ventures Holding. ForceSense develops the Lapron Boxtrainer, that has been developed in close collaboration with VUmc Professor Jaap Bonjer and the Amsterdam Skill Centre. The holdings of AMC and VUmc, AMC Ventures and VUmc Participations respectively, are now joint shareholders in ForceSense, in line with the merger of the two medical centers into Amsterdam University Medical Centers. Together they not only bring an investment into the fold, but also a wealth of expertise and resources. The ability for ForceSense to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of laparoscopic training has never looked better.
Prof. Jaap Bonjer, Chair and Professor of Surgery at Amsterdam UMC, and already working with ForceSense, will expand his role as medical advisor. His decision to become more involved was influenced in no small part by his direct experience with the success of the Lapron box trainer. Thanks to the ForceSense technology, the box trainer is able to measure not only the time taken to complete an exercise, but also the force applied to the tissue and the motion of the instruments (the device has the flexibility to incorporate any 5mm real-world instrumentation). This system – the technology of which was originally developed at TU Delft – is the only one in the world that includes a force measurement in laparoscopic training, ensuring that the student is working in an atraumatic way.
“Working in an atraumatic way is absolutely essential during surgery, far more important than speed,” explains Prof. Bonjer. “The less trauma you induce, the better the patient will heal. I’ve been impressed with the ForceSense platform in preparing students and surgeons alike for the conditions they’re going to meet in the OR.”
Having integrated the sensor technology in the Lapron box trainer, this “instructor-in-a-box” solution opens the possibility for training off-the job and even at home. Because all training data is stored in an online database, students can train anywhere. Currently, a ForceSense exam is required for certification by the German Association for Endoscopic Gynecology (AGE) and ForceSense is an integral part of the curriculum at the Amsterdam UMC. For the latter, this packaged technology solution aligns with the vision of the Amsterdam Skills Centre (and a growing trend, worldwide) that on-the-job training programs need to be replaced by high quality, time efficient and low cost off-the-job training programs.
ForceSense CEO Willem Nerkens understands that his company’s proven success and ripe potential for growth is what makes ForceSense an interesting investment. “The fact that a long-time customer wants to actively invest in further growth is a great compliment”, states Nerkens, “especially when that customer was involved with the user feedback and scientific research that helped develop the product. With this show of confidence in the Lapron box trainer product and our vision for the future, the stage is set to integrate ForceSense in a growing number of medical training programs.”
ForceSense is a market-leading platform and technology that – together with the Lapron box trainer – offers medical students a highly sophisticated learning environment available for honing laparoscopic skills. ForceSense enables residents to train independently, using real OR tools and while generating advanced automatic feedback on their speed, dexterity and finesse. It’s like working with a one-on-one professional instructor, only more cost-effective.