How soon and in what way will the results of your research help patients?
Stefanie Speidel: The smartglasses are currently being tested in pilot studies. In the new NCT building, which is taking shape on the campus of the University Hospital and should be ready by 2019, there will be an operating room of the future. There we will carry out studies on the navigation system and on robot-assisted surgery. I think it is quite realistic to expect these techniques to be applied in clinical practice for certain operations in about ten years’ time.
Scientific achievements are reported almost exclusively in the specialist press. In the mainstream media, an exhibition in the city gallery or a new book from a well-known author generally receives more coverage, not to mention the sports reports. Are you ever frustrated by this imbalance, which sometimes borders on ignorance?
Stefanie Speidel: I find it rather a pity that the scientific achievements all around us are often taken for granted. Scientific research is essential for the future of our society. I think that we as scientists can also contribute by openly entering into dialogue with society and emphasising the importance of research, especially in this age of alternative facts.
Even more so than the research itself, the private life of scientists remains off the radar. How does Stefanie Speidel spend her time outside the research lab? How do you feel about living in Dresden, and do you already have your own favourite places in the city?
Stefanie Speidel: I feel very much at home here in Dresden; the city has a lot to offer. It’s always fun to explore somewhere new. At the moment, I spend a lot of time on the Elbe embankment near the Blaues Wunder bridge. I also frequent Cafe emoi and the new library in the Kulturpalast.