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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Updates on the Amadeus surgical robot

Unfortunately, not a whole lot of information is leaked regarding the development of the Amadeus system in Canada, aimed to compete with the da Vinci. Some of the news allows us to sketch the way of their development. 
  • In April, Titan Inc. announced that they will use KUKA's lightweight arm for the setup. This is the commercialized version of the DLR III arm, with amazing capabilities and functions (7 DOF, fully sensorized, compliant). The LW is preferred solution for other surgical robotic setups as well (e.g. the Active FP7 project). It is also important feature that the KUKA robot does not use cable-drive, therefore does not collide with Intuitive's patents on that technology.
  • Back in March, the first prototype of their console started its user-tests.
  • Earlier, they outsourced some of the development tasks to Sagentia Inc.
  • Recently, the first concept-designs and images were released on Titan's website (see above), and now the company claims to have its first working prototype.
  • Strategic agreements have been made with Canadian hospitals for the trial of the system, once they have a clinically applicable prototype (within 12-24 months).
  • In an interview with founder and CEO (Dr. Rayman), he expressed their effort to make Amadeus more useful in telemedicine services, including education and informationsharing between sites.  They can rely on their massive experience from CSTAR. He believes the robot will be superior to da Vinci due to the redundant and compliant KUKA manipulators and to the use of more flexible tool shafts. (Which however, may also cause some problems in control--ed.) They plan to target bowel surgery and mitral valve repairs beyond the typical abdominal and urulogical procedures.
  • In the mean while, the financial news from the company reveal that they will need huge investment very soon to continue.
Updates: - first external image on the consol of the Amadeus
       - Titan partners with D&D video for advanced camera system development
       - More recent news on the system
       - Older article

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The iSYS robot, descendant of the B-ROBs

Researchers at the recently introduced ACMIT center (originally working for IMA, and before at Seibersdorf) have earned the merit for developing a compact and practical needle holding robot, historically called B-Rob, the biopsy robot.

The original one was developed for CT and ultrasound-guided biopsies by the robotics laboratory of ARC Seibersdorf Research (Austria). The first B-Rob prototype was a 7 DOF robot integrated on a mobile rack. A 4 DOF positioning stage was used to direct the needle to the desired skin entry point. The complete system was thoroughly tested on needle-penetrable phantoms, where its application accuracy was 1.48 ± 0.62 mm, which was shown to be better than the traditional free-hand technique [Cleary et al., 2006].

The development of the second prototype was motivated by the aim to provide a modular setup for a broad variety of clinical applications, easy integration with other systems, reduction of technical complexity and costs. The robot was equipped with a Needle Positioning Unit (NPU) for fine orientation. The first gel phantom tests of the B-Rob II showed 0.66 ± 0.27 mm application accuracy in IG positioning. In-vitro trials with ultrasound guided biopsy specimen harvests followed, where the mean deviation of the needle tip from the center of the target was 1.1 ± 0.8 mm.

The latest version of the robot got new controllers and, a decent design, and receiving clearance these days under the branding of the iSYS company.There are a handful of the devices around the world by now, used routinley in reseach.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Summer School on Surgical Robotics

With only a few days left until the deadline of our CIS workshop, there are other initiatives worth a note. 
The LIRMM lab in Montpellier has earned a world-wide reputation for their very successful surgical robotics summer school, that has been bringing together young talents since 2003. The next, 5th edition is coming soon, you should consider it!

"The highly interdisciplinary nature of surgical robotics requires close cooperation between medical staff and researchers in mechanics, computer sciences, control and electrical engineering. This cooperation has resulted in many prototypes for a wide variety of surgical procedures. A few robotics systems are yet available on a commercial basis and have entered the operating room namely in neurosurgery, orthopedics and MIS.

Depending on the application, surgical robotics gets more or less deeply into the following fields: multi-modal information processing; modelling of rigid and deformable anatomical parts; pre-surgical planning and simulation of robotic surgery; design and control of guiding systems for assistance of the surgeon gesture. During the Summer school, these fields will be addressed by surgeons and researchers working in leading hospitals and labs. They will be completed by engineers who will give insight into practical integration problems.
This course is addressed to PhD students, post-docs and researchers already involved in the area or interested by the new challenges of such an emerging area interconnecting technology and surgery. Basic background in mechanical, computer science, control and electrical engineering is recommended."

 The lectures will be organized in four parts:
• Fundamental aspects of surgical robotics (2 days)
• Applications (2 days)
• Industrial forum (1 day)
• Future trends (1 day)

See the official website or their flyer for more information. Also, you can look at the previous editions (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009).

LIRMM is currently looking for a post-doc in surgical robotics for the ARAKNES project.

Monday, May 9, 2011

CIS Workshop in Budapest

Finally, we are organizing a CIS Workshop in Budapest (May 17-24.), with the old fellows from MAVE (EESTEC LC Budapest), and the Biomed Lab at BME. All young colleagues' submissions are welcome! 10 more days to go. Accommodation, food and fun is all included in the very modest registration fee.
You can find the description, the application form and the preliminary program on the official website: eestec.hu/cis.
We are lucky to have a very strong international team of lecturers:
  • Dr. Gábor Fichtinger (Queens University)
  • Dr. Kronreif Gernot (ACMIT)
  • Dr. Peter Kazanzides (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Dr. Kevin Cleary (Children's National Medical Center, USA)
  • Dr. Wolfgang Birkfellner (Medical University of Vienna)
  • Dr. Lena Maier-Hein (German Cancer Research Center)
  • Dr. Franjo Pernuš (University of Ljubljana)
    The main sponsor of the event is SIEMENS Healthcare, ACMIT and Contact Singapore are also supporting.