Advanced Projects Laboratory: Current Projects

Imagine. Innovate. Inspire.

Learn more about the APL's ongoing projects and the latest technologies and advancements we're incorporating into pediatric surgeries.

3d printed heart in a photography studio
3d printed heart in a photography studio

3D Printing

The Advanced Projects Laboratory (APL) is a world leader in 3D printing in medicine. The program has printed more than 600 models including over 500 hearts. Printed hearts are used for surgical planning, professional and patient education outreach, patient satisfaction and are now used in synergy with mixed-reality technologies. Our printers include a Stratasys J750 Digital Anatomy Printer that prints models that can be cut and sewn to support advance surgical planning and a newly introduced state-of-the-art Stratasys J5 printer. We are one of the few institutions in the country exploring the uses of the J5 in medicine. Our printers have been funded by generous donations to the program.

Patient Education

The APL uses MRI and CT scans to print out anatomically accurate and life-size models of each patient’s anatomy and uses them during patient consultations to empower patients and families with a greater understanding of their own diagnosis. Follow-up is done with a survey to measure patient impact.

3d printed hard model in blue and red resin

Mixed/Virtual/Augmented Reality

The Advanced Projects Laboratory is also a world leader in utilizing mixed reality for surgical planning and patient education via the Microsoft Hololens 2. The use of this technology has proven to be invaluable in surgical planning, patient education, professional education, and outreach. The lab is constantly investigating other immersive technologies including intraoperative and patient therapeutic use.

Dr. hannan wearing goggles while a rendering of a heart is projected.

Immersive Care Room

The APL has developed a cutting edge, one-of-a-kind Immersive Care Room, transforming the patient, family, and hospital personnel experience. These are fully immersive environments; utilizing a combination of light, sound, and video to transport the patient to a different world. The first rooms developed are a space exploration room and an undersea relaxation room, incorporating natural sights and sounds, which have been shown to increase relaxation and reduce pain.


Memory Preservation with 3D Technologies (PACT)

To support families grieving the loss of a child, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT), in collaboration with the Advanced Projects Laboratoryoratory (APL), offers three-dimensional images and printed models that serve as memorial keepsakes to honor a beloved child. 

The APL's biomedical engineers meet with the family to discuss options for memory preservation that include capturing digital scans of the child’s hands and/or feet or images of the parent holding the child’s hands. Using creativity in the post-production process, biomedical engineers then provide the family with a password-protected 3D photography file accessed via sketchfab, as well as a durable 3D memorial keepsake model. The process can take less than 24 hours to complete.

3d printed model of parent and child's clasped hands

Advanced Perfusion Technologies

Led by Mr. Jorge Ojito, BS, CCP, FFP, the Heart Institute has one of the most innovative pediatric perfusion programs in the country. The program is a leader in technology that is rapidly deployable, air transportable, and minimizes patient trauma. These efforts have revolutionized pediatric perfusion care in medicine.

Public Reporting Transparency in Patient Outcomes

The Division of Cardiovascular Surgery Real-Time Outcomes public webpage provides an up-to-the-minute public reporting of the program’s surgery-specific outcomes. Created by reverse engineering, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons' Congenital Heart Surgery database, this resource directly queries our own database and reports out daily with no modification. This unique resource has been widely noted in the lay press and is currently being evaluated by the State of Florida as the standard for all l pediatric cardiac programs in the state.

data table of real time outcomes