Paul Breedveld studied Mechanical Engineering at TU Delft where he obtained his MSc and PhD degrees in 1991 and 1996, both with honours. Extending his experience in space robotics to the medical field, he continued his research with the design of innovative medical devices inspired by smart solutions in nature, sponsored by two personal research grants from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Having recieved a number of prices and awards, his research was rewarded in 2012 with a prestigious Dutch VICI research grant on the development of advanced snake-like instrumentation for endo-nasal skull base surgery and in 2013 with an Antoni van Leeuwenhoek distinguished professorship at TU Delft. Breedveld became chairman of the Board of Examiners of the Faculty Mechanical, Maritime & Materials Engineering in 2014 and in 2016 he was one of the founders of the the PainLess Foundation: a Dutch initiative to find innovative solutions for chronic and incurable pain. Being a leading researcher in a number of national and EU research programmes, in 2019 Breedveld became one of the chairs of Dutch Soft Robotics: a large national research programme of the Dutch 4TU Federation aimed at using clever bio-inspired solutions for the development of medical and agricultural soft robotic systems.
Collaborating with biologists, medical companies and (academic) medical centres, the research within Breedveld’s research group BITE (Bio-Inspired Technology) has resulted in a great number of innovative medical devices, such as multi-steerable instruments and catheters inspired by anatomy of squid tentacles, adhesive instruments and self-propelled intestine devices based on starfish and tree frog adhesion, high-precision biopsy harvesters inspired by chewing organs of sea-urchins, mechanical follow-the-leader instruments inspired by snakes and mechanical calculators, self-propelled steerable needles and tissue transporters based on ovipositors of parasitic wasps, and integrated-assembly 3D-printed instruments and prostheses designed for low-cost use in developing countries. Some of these devices are protected by patents and commercialized by (spin-off) companies such as DEAM.