Endri Dibra, Arbrea Labs’ CEO, has a long history of interest in medicine, surgery, and computer science, and it would be unthinkable for him to separate one aspect from another. After a family member was diagnosed with breast cancer, he became even more committed. It transformed his perspective on the procedures, especially after witnessing the trauma of mastectomy and the psychological effects it had on women.
The contemplation of finding a solution as a follow-up to breast cancer rehabilitation ran in the background of Endri’s mind as he was undergoing his PhD thesis at the Computer Graphics Laboratory at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. During this time, Endri was reconstructing digital human avatars from single images, which started during Endri’s stint at Disney Research but only materialized and discovered real-world application during his PhD.
Perhaps it was not a coincidence that he met with fellow co-founder Ben Huber. On top of his professional experience in industrial inspections and space robotics, he also shared something in common with Endri: breast cancer in family history. Over many coffees and long late-night discussions later, along with a consultation with a plastic surgeon in preparation for producing their own prototype, Arbrea Labs was born.
The breast was a real technical challenge for scanning due to the big lack of available data.
Endri and Ben used various techniques from visual computing to generate realistic-looking synthetic data, in order to fuel the algorithms on which the Arbrea app is based today. Backed by decades of research and their common passion as fuel, they managed to develop the Arbrea app for surgeons. Their pilot project was launched within a short period of time. Less than a decade ago, it would have been impossible to say that there’s an app that can pre-visualize breast surgery results for plastic surgeons. Today, there’s definitely an app for that. The realms of medicine, surgery and computer science have finally joined forces.