"The future of surgery is not about blood and guts; the future of surgery is about bits and bytes.”
/Dr. Richard Satava/

Friday, May 29, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hamlyn Robotics Challenge

"This year at the Hamlyn Symposium, we are holding the Surgical Robot Challenge supported by the dVRK (da Vinci Research Kit) community, RAVEN II Open Source Surgical Robot community, and the KUKA Light Weight Robot research community. The purpose of the Challenge is to foster collaboration, share resources and tackle some of the unmet technical/clinical challenges in robotic surgery. 
Competition format
The competition consists of 2 rounds.  The first round involves submitting a 3-minute video of your surgical robotic technology.  Entries that get through this round will be invited to the competition finals that will be held in London on Thursday 18th, Friday 19th and Saturday 20th June.  Finalists will present their entry to a judging panel on Saturday 20th June.  Winners will be announced at the Hamlyn Symposium Awards Ceremony on Monday 22nd June.
There is a total prize fund of 10,000 USD consisting of multiple cash prizes and tickets to the Hamlyn Symposium 2016.  The winners will be decided by an independent judging panel.   All teams attending the finals will be competing for the main prizes.  Teams that are unable to attend the finals will only be able to compete in the best video category.
1. First-Draft 3-Minute Preview 
 For the first round, you need to submit a 3-minute video of your surgical robotic technology.  This video should introduce the motivation for your work, propose your technology, provide a demonstration of your technology in action and present its potential impact.  The video should be in 16:9 1080p format.  The video can be silent or have a spoken soundtrack.  The first draft version will used to decide which entries get through to the competition finals.  Shortly after your submission, the competition organisers will inform you if your entry is shortlisted for the competition finals in London. "
More information is available here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Intuitive's Technology Research Grant

Intuitive Surgical is pleased to announce its 2016 grant programs for both clinical and technology research. You can find more information about these grants on our company website:
In particular, I'd like to draw your attention to the technology research grants. The purpose of these grants is to support technology research in the area of surgical robotics, or related fields. The program is open to researchers at non-profit academic institutions worldwide and successful proposals will ideally address clinically-relevant technology development.
To start the grant proposal process, we are inviting letters of intent. If you would like to apply, please send these to us by June 5th, 2015. Invitations to submit full grant proposals will be sent on July 2nd, with a submission deadline of September 11th, 2015. Details of the selection criteria, grant conditions, and other guidelines, are available on our website. We have recently switched to an online submission portal for our grant programs to help streamline the grant process. The link to the technology grant portal is: https://app.wizehive.com/apps/intuitivetechnologyLOI
A brief FAQ is included below based on some of the common questions that we have been asked in previous years.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What kinds of research projects has Intuitive funded in the past?
Prior projects have included the following topics:
· Fluorescence and other novel imaging methods for guiding surgery.
· Tissue characterization using electrical impedance measurements.
· Tissue bonding without sutures.
· High force micro-manipulation mechanisms.
· Compact, yet dexterous mechanisms for minimally-invasive surgery.
· Robotic mechanisms for intravenous injection.
· Skills assessment and training technologies.
· Ergonomics and human factors research.
· Image-guided robotics.
· Novel tissue cutting and manipulation methods.
· Use of intra-operative ultrasound for surgical navigation and monitoring.
· Methods for fabricating micromanipulation mechanisms.
· Novel actuation and sensing methods for medical robots.
2) Does the project have to involve the da Vinci?
Not at all – in fact this grant program is intended to support the exploration of novel future ideas for addressing compelling clinical problems. These need not be relevant to today’s da Vinci Surgical System.
3) Can I use the grant funds to pay a student stipend or postdoc salary?
Yes, the funds can be used to pay salaries for students, postdocs, research engineers, faculty, or other staff that are directly involved in performing the research work. Funds may also be used for purchasing materials, supplies, and equipment, as well as for any prototyping costs associated with the project.
3) Does Intuitive pay overhead costs?
Yes, we will pay overhead; however, due to the limited size of these grants, we require that you limit indirect costs to no more than 20% overall. The total costs, including both direct and indirect costs, as well as any applicable taxes, should not exceed $50,000 USD.
4) The guidelines indicate that grantees will be invited to present their project work and results in California. When will this happen and will Intuitive cover the cost of travel and accommodations?
This year, we invited all of our clinical and technology grant awardees to Sunnyvale for a Research Grant Symposium day in January. This was a great event for interacting with other grant recipients, as well as with researchers and engineers at Intuitive. We are planning to repeat this symposium event annually and will cover travel costs for the principal investigator and one student/postdoc/associate to attend the symposium.
5) The guidelines say that IP terms and conditions may apply. What does this mean?
Most university sponsored research departments will require that a Sponsored Research Agreement be put in place prior to any sponsored project work. Intuitive uses a fairly standard sponsored research agreement for this purpose and we try to use this consistently for all grant projects. The agreement includes confidentiality and liability terms to protect both the research institution, as well as Intuitive. In most cases, all intellectual property generated by the investigators during the course of the sponsored research work belongs to the institution. Intuitive does not typically request or claim ownership to this IP; however, in cases where projects require closer collaboration and joint research work with Intuitive, IP-sharing terms may need to be negotiated prior to the grant award.
6) Why did Intuitive switch to an online grant submission program?
The online process helps to standardize the submissions and has a feature which allows for the submission of supporting videos. We look forward to your feedback on the Technology Grant Portal.

Friday, May 22, 2015

IJARS--Survey on surgical robotics

In the past year, we have been busy working on this article to provide a complete overview of the surgical robotics landscape. Updates will appear to it frequently on this blog, and should you have relevant news, let us know! Hope you will enjoy reading it. 

Mathias Hoeckelmann, Imre J. Rudas, Paolo Fiorini, Frank Kirchner and Tamas Haidegger 

"Commercial surgical robots have been in clinical use since the mid-1990s, supporting surgeons in various tasks. In the past decades, many systems emerged as research platforms, and a few entered the global market. This paper summarizes the currently available surgical systems and research directions in the broader field of surgical robotics. The widely deployed teleoperated manipulators aim to enhance human cognitive and physical skills and provide smart tools for surgeons, while image-guided robotics focus on surpassing human limitations by introducing automated targeting and treatment delivery methods. Both concepts are discussed based on prototypes and commercial systems. Through concrete examples the possible future development paths of surgical robots are illustrated. While research efforts are taking different approaches to improve the capacity of such systems, the aim of this survey is to assess their maturity from the commercialization point of view." 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Video Wednesday

The da Vinci Single-Site Wristed Needle driver in action

Monday, May 18, 2015

DMD Europe 2015--CFP

September 8-9, 2015 Vienna / Wiener Neustadt, Austria

The DMD Europe conference is organized in close collaboration with the successful Design of Medical Devices Conference in Minneapolis, USA, the annual event for an international community of scientists, engineers and physicians to present and discuss key developments in the design of medical devices.

DMD Europe 2015 — “Rapid Prototyping for the efficient design and validation of medical devices”
DMD Europe 2015 will take place in Vienna/Wiener Neustadt, Austria, and focus on methods and tools for an efficient design process. Contributions are invited for the following (and related) topics:
* Additive manufacturing for efficient design
* Rapid prototyping of medical software applications with open-source tools
* Middle-ware concepts for the design of medical devices
* Modular medical mechatronic systems/robotics
* Simulation and training for design and validation of medical devices

 Important dates
June 12th, 2015: Deadline paper submission (extended)
June 30th, 2015: Author notification
July 10th, 2015: End of early registration
September 8th-9th, 2015: Conference

TFZ – Technology and Research Center Wiener Neustadt
Viktor Kaplan-Strasse 2
2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Co-organized by ACMIT!

Read more on the event's website!