Endri Dibra is a doctor of computer science, he works and lives in Zurich, Switzerland. He is also the founder of Arbrea Labs. Recently, Endri has won the Innovation of the Year award at the ICT Awards with his special application. The application is called "Digital Human Avatars and AI from Smartphones for AR Body" and is offered to surgeons and patients who want to perform reconstructive and aesthetic surgeries.
Its technology is based on mathematics. From a young age, Endri has been passionate about it and has taken part in Mathematics Olympiads, often being declared city or national level winner. This has given him the chance to study Electronic Engineering and Computer Science in Germany (bachelor), Robotics in Switzerland (master), to have sufficient research experience at the German Artificial Intelligence Research Center and Disney Research, and finally crown his academic journey with a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence and Visual Computing (AI) at the Polytechnic of Zurich (ETH Zurich)
How did you come to the creation of Arbrea Labs?
The idea to establish Arbrea Labs was born during the second year of my doctorate at the Zurich Polytechnic. At the time I was researching the latest techniques for creating 3D Human Digital Avatars directly from photos, with a very wide range of applications: movies, health monitoring, fitness, telepresence, body size measurement automatically for online shopping reasons, surgery, etc. 3D avatars are a virtual digital imitation of real persons. It was precisely the perfect combination of my 3D Avatars theme and passion for medicine (surgery), inspired by my father who is a resuscitating anesthesiologist, that led me to establish Arbrea Labs, focusing on breast cancer patients who undergo reconstructive surgery. As well as patients who make aesthetic interventions.
What's the meaning of the name Arbrea Labs?
Arbrea Labs has had two meanings since genesis. First of all, if you look at ARBrea in terms of acronyms, it means Augmented Reality for Breast. But this combination of syllables is not set without purpose: Arbrea is read ‘Arbria’ in English, a term that connects me with Albania (Arbëria). Labs - is an abbreviation of the word Laboratories, as we have in our team many experts in the field of technology, mainly doctoral students, computer scientists and professors from the Zurich Polytechnic.
What is the mission of your company?
Arbrea Labs was created to help patients who plan to undergo reconstructive or aesthetic surgery on their body and face, to get as detailed information as possible visually of the possible results of a surgical operation or treatment aesthetic. So, this tool helps them in decision making and at the same time serves to reduce the anxiety and stress levels of patients.
At the same time and naturally, we help surgeons to educate and communicate to their patients, visually, the potential post-surgical results.
At the core of the company's technology, we continue to develop the latest techniques of creating 3D Human Digital Avatars directly from photos taken from mobile phones or tablets.
How exactly does your application work?
In simple words, the patient, with the help of his iPhone or iPad, performs a scan (only 3 photos are needed for this). After shooting the photos, the algorithms calculate the shape and volume of the body, as well as skin color, glow due to falling light, and so on. The mixture of these elements constitutes what is called the Person 3D Digital Avatar. The latter can be modified by surgeons based on simple controls (such as buttons, sliders), where each modification involves complicated algorithms based on AI and 3D Simulations, which visually demonstrate how the patient would look, after a certain surgical procedure. This result then merges with the patient's real image/photograph, creating the illusion of a magical picture of the future. This whole process is very fast and safe.
There are three ways to use it: At home directly from the patient, online consultation, and in the surgeon's office. All data and calculations remain on the device, without compromising patient privacy.
Has it been difficult to integrate into the international market?
Fortunately not, since the launch of the product on the market we have had requests from surgeons of different states. Of course, COVID-19 in its beginnings has slowed down this process a bit, but we are trying to recover it through online communications.
You won the Innovation of the Year award at the ICT Awards. What differentiates your application from the rest?
I want to emphasize that creating 3D Human Digital Avatars from one or two pictures of a person is still an unresolved topic in the field of computer science, which we continue to advance further as technology. As I mentioned, 3D Avatars have wide applicability and this will be even more evident in the coming years. Moreover, the application of Augmented Reality (AR) directly to the human body, in real-time and with direct processing on the device is also difficult to accomplish.
Did you consult with medical experts before finalizing the idea?
Of course! I have consulted well-known surgeons in Switzerland and abroad (Germany, Brazil, Romania), who have helped us with their advice from the beginning.
Are Digital Human Avatars and AI from Smartphones for AR Body Applications widely used by patients and doctors in Switzerland?
Arbrea application for surgeons has started to be widely used in Switzerland. We hope to increase its use during the presentation of our company and its products at the Swiss National Conference on Plastic Surgery, to be held in Lausanne on September 11-12.
The "Lindapp" application for patients has just started to be used, as it was launched a month ago and is currently directly controlled by the surgeon.
Have you launched your application outside Switzerland?
The app has already been launched and is available to surgeons worldwide. At the moment we have a special focus on countries like Brazil, Germany, and Italy. Soon, growing up, we will be able to channel ourselves to the United States, even though the first surgical client was from there.
Are your future projects related to Albania?
Our products are available to Albanian surgeons as well, so they are more than welcome to contact us. As for Arbrea as a company, I desire to extend to Albania and all Albanian lands and be supported and strengthened by the brilliant minds of the most promising Albanian students. So I invite them not to hesitate to apply directly to us.