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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Surgical Robotics archives

Hereby we are launching a new series: archives of surgical robotics. Interesting old systems and concepts will be presented. There have already been some relevant posts, worth taking a look:
Since NASA can be considered as the birthplace of modern surgical robotics, let us take a look into some of their archive videos on their RAMS system: 

Parallel to that, SRI was busy working on its Green Telepresence System, which is the straight predecessor of the da Vinci: 
"Philip Green led a team at SRI that assembled the first working model of a telepresence surgery system in 1991, and with funding from the NIH Green went on to design and build a demonstration system. The proposal contained the diagram shown in Fig. 1 showing the concept of workstation, viewing arrangement, and manipulation configuration used in the surgical telepresence systems today. In 1992 SRI obtained funding for a second-generation telepresence system for emergency surgeries in battlefield situations. For this second-generation system the SRI team developed the precise servo-mechanics, force-feedback, 3D visualization and surgical instruments needed to build a computer-driven system that could accurately reproduce a surgeon's hand motions with remote surgical instruments having 5-degrees of freedom and extremely sensitive tactile response."
 /Telepresence surgery demonstration system 1994

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Google and J&J's Ethicon are developing a new MIS surgical robot

 "Johnson & Johnson today announced that Ethicon, a medical device company in the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, has executed a definitive agreement to enter into a strategic collaboration with Google, Inc., working with the Life Sciences team on advancing surgical robotics to benefit surgeons, patients and health care systems.
The companies will bring together capabilities, intellectual property and expertise to create an innovative robotic-assisted surgical platform capable of integrating advanced technologies with the goal of improving health care delivery in the operating room. The collaboration was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation in California."

"Google wants to be everywhere, even inside your body.  On Friday, Google and the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced a partnership between Google’s life sciences division and Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson that makes surgical products, to develop new robot-assisted surgery technologies.  The deal “will help explore how the latest innovations in computer science and advanced imaging and sensors could be integrated into tools that help surgeons as they operate,” Google said in a statement.  For now, the announcement is mostly just that — an announcement. The companies gave few details about the nature of the partnership or how much money might be involved. Google at least said its contribution would not be in developing surgical instruments, but rather in its particular skill in handling large amounts of data.  In statements, the companies suggested that some of their goals included developing imaging technologies that would give surgeons a clearer real-time look inside the body, or software that could highlight features that are crucial but difficult to see, such as blood vessels, nerves or the margins around a tumor, which can be crucial to a successful cancer surgery.  Google also said its team would try to figure out how to consolidate volumes of medical data and testing into a more useful interface.  “Surgeons typically consult multiple separate screens in the operating room to view preoperative medical images (e.g., M.R.I.s), see results of previous surgeries and lab tests, or understand how to navigate an aberrant anatomical structure,” the company said in its statement. “Smart software could overlay these images on top of the interface where a surgeon is already viewing a robotic-assisted operation.”   
Seemingly, most of Ethion's patents are on advanced hand-held devices [1, 2, 3]. 
Hat tip: TianX

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Video Wednesday

For those, who are interested in the topic: Balazs B. Loerincz, MD will have his PhD defense on "Present and future of TORS" April 2, 2015. at Semmelweis University, Fül-Orr-Gégészeti és Fej-Nyak-Sebészeti Klinika.

Monday, March 23, 2015

SMC Special Session - Medical Cyber-Physical Systems

All researchers in the field of CIS are still cordially invited to submit a paper to the upcoming IEEE SMC2015 conference special session on:
Aims and potential impact of the Special Session 
  • Identify specific gaps in existing CPS control practices, as well as future needs; 
  • Identify related efforts (best practices) outside of the medical CPS research community that we may leverage as a group; 
  • Explore future potential scientific domains to continue to support shared knowledge infrastructure for the CPS community; 
  • Discuss collaboration and communication mechanisms along our key research topics, their benefits and shortcomings.  
Important Dates 
  • March 31, 2015: Deadline for submission of full-length papers  
  • June 1, 2015: Acceptance/Rejection Notification. 
  • July 20, 2015: Final camera-ready papers due in electronic form. 
Manuscripts for a Special Session should NOT be submitted in duplication to any other regular or special sessions and should be submitted to SMC 2015 main conference online submission system on SMC 2015 conference website. All submitted papers of Special Sessions have to undergo the same review process (three completed reviews per paper).  The technical reviewers for each Special Session paper will be members of the SMC 2015 Program Committee and qualified peer-reviewers to be nominated by the Special Session organizers.
More information is available here. We are waiting for your contribution!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Quiz #13

The solution of our Quiz #12 was: AQrate system from EPFL/KB Medical, which has just received ISO 13485 certification. Congratulations to CyrillvT (DE)!
Now we have a new one! You can submit your answers to surgrob.blog at gmail.com until April 15.

Friday, March 20, 2015

OpenIGT Link connects KUKA Sunrise controller and 3D Slicer

Earlier this week, KUKA announced its support for the OpenIGT Link for the iwa arms. This is a fundamental benefit for the iwa research community. (Hope to see more use cases at ICRA!)

"The simple connection of the KUKA LBR iiwa lightweight robot to a system for image-based therapy. This is the result of a research project of KUKA Roboter GmbH in cooperation with the Institute for Mechatronic Systems of the Leibniz University in Hanover. Institutes and universities involved in research with the KUKA LBR iiwa lightweight robot can now obtain the interfaces identified in the course of the project as well as the source code for an exemplary medical application free of charge via the GitHub hosting service.  

 Research has been ongoing in the field of robot-assisted surgery since the mid-eighties. However, there have only been a few medical applications which have enjoyed commercial success so far. The complex and time-consuming surgery workflow as well as the insufficient accuracy of the entire operation are challenging components. The project was started in March 2012 with the objective of providing the scientific community with general interfaces to use the LBR iiwa in a medical environment.
Java and open source
In the last one and a half years Sebastian Tauscher, together with his team under the supervision of the head of the institute, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Ortmaier, has developed Java libraries on the basis of the Java-based KUKA Sunrise Robotics API, which can now be used for follow-up research projects. “What is special is that an open-source standard interface was selected as the interface. OpenIGT Link is an open protocol specialized in linking and integrating devices and systems in the field of surgery,” states Ortmaier, when explaining the features of the selected interface.
Linking the robotic and medical workflows
The research objective could be achieved by selecting the freely available widespread “3D Slicer” software for visualization and image processing. It is now possible to connect “3D Slicer” and the KUKA Sunrise controller via OpenIGT Link. This allows the medical workflow to be linked to the workflow of the robot. A freely available expansion of the 3D Slicer image-processing software “LightWeightRobotIGT” was created with the support of the Boston Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It can be used to command the lightweight robot or to operate a state machine on the robot controller as well as to visualize the current position of the robot in relation to the computer tomography or magnetic resonance tomography data. 
Application example from bone surgery
With the extension of the 3D Slicer software as well as the control expansion of KUKA Sunrise, the user can directly access the source code and, in this way, customize the supplied application example from orthopedic surgery as desired. Furthermore, these new software packages can be subjected to constant further development in full keeping with the concepts of open-source offers. “The simple interfacing and integration of the robotic system in an image-assisted therapy system is an important step on the way to a practical medical product. I am happy that I was able to make a contribution in this respect,” says Sebastian Tauscher, doctoral student at the Chair for Mechatronic Systems, with pride in his project."

Read more about the technology here.

Source: KUKA (hat tip: CvT)