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

Monday, September 22, 2014

New MRI-compatible prostate robot in the OR

The AIM lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) led by Greg Fischer accomplished their first clinical trial with their robot for prostate cancer diagnosis inside of MRI.
"A novel robotic system that can operate inside the bore of an MRI scanner is currently being tested as part of a biomedical research partnership program. The ro...botic system was developed by a team of robotics engineers at WPI in collaboration with colleagues at John Hopkins University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Acoustic MedSystems Inc. Learn more  here."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quiz #10

The last Quiz featured (twice) the latest version of University Nebraska's in vivo surgical robots. (Image credit: E.J.Markvicka.) The first correct solution came from Dean Viva. Congratulations! (Please drop us an email to receive your prize!) 
This time again, we are interested in learning the name of the system depicted. You can submit your answers to surgrob.blog at gmail.com until September 30.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Video Wednesday

Amazing mechatronics from the SAMSUNG Electronics people for a NOTES structure. Significantly more advanced that the KAIST robot presented before.  (A 2013 video of the system.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Medical robotics at IROS

The IEEE IROS conference begins tomorrow, featuring a lot of sessions and programs in connection with medical robotics. There will be a handful of regular session (organized in an interactive session format.) Further some specific programs:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Video Wednesday

A little older stuff from Hopkins, yet can't watch enough times: 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Haptics on the Rise

 From NYT:
"Replicating that sensitivity is the goal of haptics, a science that is playing an increasing role in connecting the computing world to humans. One of the most significant advances in haptics has been made by Mako Surgical, founded in 2004 by the roboticist Rony Abovitz. In 2006, Mako began offering a robot that provides precise feedback to surgeons repairing arthritic knee joints.
Beyond advances necessary for basic safety, scientists are focusing on more subtle aspects of touch. Last year, researchers at Georgia Tech reported in the journal Science that they had fabricated bundles of tiny transistors called taxels to measure changes in electrical charges that signal mechanical strain or pressure. The goal is to design touch-sensitive applications, including artificial skin for robots and other devices.
Much research is focusing on vision and its role in touch. The newest da Vinci Xi, a surgery system developed by Intuitive Surgical Inc., uses high-resolution 3-D cameras to enable doctors to perform delicate operations remotely, manipulating tiny surgical instruments. The company focused on giving surgeons better vision, because the necessary touch for operating on soft tissue like organs is still beyond the capability of haptics technology.
Curt Salisbury, a principal research engineer at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute, said that while surgeons could rely on visual cues provided by soft tissues to understand the forces exerted by their tools, there were times when vision alone would not suffice.
“Haptic feedback is critical when you don’t have good visual access,” he said.
Other researchers believe that advances in sensors that more accurately model human skin, as well as algorithms that fuse vision, haptics and kinematics, will lead to vast improvements in the next generation of robots.
One path is being pursued by  Eduardo Torres-Jara, an assistant professor of robotics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, who has defined an alternative theory he describes as “sensitive robotics.” He has created a model of robotic motion, grasping and manipulation that begins with simply knowing where the robot’s feet or hands meet the ground or an object. “It is all about recognizing the tactile events and understanding that very well,” he said. Using biologically inspired artificial skin that can detect tiny changes in magnetic forces, he has built a two-legged walking robot that is able to balance and stride by measuring changing forces on the bottoms of its feet.
Last fall, Allison Okamura, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Laboratory for Collaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine at Stanford, taught an online course in haptics. Students assembled “hapkits” designed by Dr. Okamura, the Stanford education professor Paulo Blikstein and Tania Morimoto, a Stanford graduate student. They then programmed them to create virtual devices like springs and dampers that could be manipulated as if they were in the real world."

Image credit: New York Times