The da Vinci robot

Probably the best known surgical robot is Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci, debuted in 1992. Its 3D vision system and camera is fully controlled by the surgeon, with the help of simple voice commands. Da Vinci also consists of two 6DOF slave manipulators, but later, an additional 7th decoupled joint–EndoWrist–has been added in order to enhance the robot’s dexterity. The CCD camera—equipped with dual endoscope to enable stereo vision—is mounted on a separate 4DOF manipulator. The built-in tremor filtering system is able to smooth the signals in real time, and scaling can be adjusted up to 1/5th of the real size. Da Vinci was the first teleoperated medical robot to receive the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval in 2000 for Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy, and since then it has been verified for 6 other procedures as well. (It was approved as a surgical assistance device since 1997.) In the past 6 years, approximately 60 000 operations have been performed with more than 1000 da Vincis only in the U.S. The second generation of the robot–da Vinci S– was completed by 2005 with HD cameras, augmented ergonomic features and a fourth robotic arm for servicing tasks. It has reached the market recently, after having performed several hundred test operations.
There are not many da Vincis serving for research purposes, the CISST only got one because Prof. Kazanzides used to work with Intuitive. Even this way it was really hard to get it, and Intuitive did not provide the robot controller, the lab people had to put together their own. The da Vinci is now ripped off of its cover, and used for several project. They are controlling other robots as well with the master device, use the 3D vision system for the verification of enhanced reality programs (like merged anatomical atlases), test teleoperation methods and trying to add appropriate haptic feedback to the system. Basically every labgroup can use it for its own research. The CISST is planning to buy a new da Vinci - S soon, for further research.


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