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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

SPIE Medical Imaging 2012

The annual SPIE Medical Imaging took place in San Diego this year. It is a much more convenient location than the Disney resort from last year (and the venue for 2013 and 2015 again). SPIE Medical Imaging celebrated its 40th birthday, with a lot of sessions on history.  The conference was not as busy or full of ground-breaking reserach reports, rather a fine meeting of all the professionals. Most of the US surgical robotics people attended, or at least, the labs were well represented.

Some of the highlight of the CIS papers (the complete proceedings is here):

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

CFP: Artificial Intelligence Methods in Telesurgery

Call for Papers    
Special Issue of full papers and short communications on

Artificial Intelligence Methods in Telesurgery

  • Submissions due: August 31, 2012
  • Publication date: February 2013 
Editor-in-Chief: K.- P. Adlassnig
Guest Editor: T. Haidegger 

Elsevier journal Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIIM) is pleased to announce a Special Issue of research   papers  on “Artificial Intelligent Methods  in Telesurgery” to be published in February 2013 (tentative). AIIM publishes articles from a wide variety of interdisciplinary perspectives concerning the theory and practice of artificial intelligence in medicine, human biology and health care.  The Special Issue will contain  five to seven research articles, methodological reviews  and survey papers  from the domain of telesurgery, introduced by a guest editorial.
Scope and topics of the SI: 
 •  AI-based control methods for robotic telesurgery systems
•  AI-based solutions to deal with latency in telesurgery
•  AI-based clinical decision support in telesurgery applications
•  intelligent devices and instruments
•  intelligent human–machine interfaces for telesurgery devices
•  AI-based skill assessment in telesurgery 
•  efforts towards automated robotic surgery 
• methodological, philosophical, ethical, and social issues of AI in telesurgery. 

For more details and the Instruction for Authors, see the complete Call!
 Or simply contact me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

From Prostate to Satellites

Our great old friends at Hopkins started to work with NASA around 2 years ago to transfer their telerobotic technology (mostly based on their da Vinci experience) to something useful in on-orbit servicing. 
NASA has long planned on using teleoperated robots for refueling (originally for Hubble, but that got cancelled in 2004) and Lockheed did some experiments in cooperation the Goddard space center. They are working together with CSA, since they have the Dextre technology
Now the Hopkins group is exploring ways to tackle the delay in communication, develop potent human-machine interfaces and to employ techniques already proven useful in surgery, such as constrained manipulation with Virtual Fixtures. (For the record, it's the same principle I recommended back in 2008.)
You can learn more about it by listening to Peter Kazanzides' talk at FISO telecon last week, or reading the many article published on their paroject [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
Robotic surgery has been featured before within the context of space medicine at FISO. You can learn about U. Nebraska's robots or about the Fesibility of extreme long distance telesurgery.

Update: I've just found the newly releazed NASA report on the NEEMO10 mission (2006) that included the M7 and the UNebraska robots as well. 
Update: Video coverage of the telerobotic NLI cutting

For latest updates, join us at the NASA Exploration Telerobotics Symposium (May 2-3), or at the upcoming GLEX conference (May 22-24) in DC. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ERASMUS Free University

The EU's ERASMUS mobility program is celebrating its 25th birthday. I gave a lecture at the ERASMUS Free University as an alumni on my internship at ACMIT (2010-11). 
The presentation might be more interesting for the fellow Hungarians. The video will be published soon

Thursday, April 12, 2012

CIS news

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Updates on the Surgenius robot

    Just recently, the Italian Surgica Robotica S.p.a. company revealed some details about their new system, the Surgenius. "Surgica Robotica has built the first fully functional prototype, Surgenius ALPHA, in 4 months. The prototype has been successfully tested both in-vitro and in-vivo. With the knowledge, the data and the analysis of the technical solutions used in ALPHA, Surgica Robotica spent one year and a half to design, build and tune a new system, Surgenius BETA. The new system has been tested in-vitro and in-vivo. Usability and performance evaluation have been carried out with well known surgeons with extensive experience in robotic surgery. Tasks relevant to robot-assisted surgical procedures have been performed on animals by our surgeons, and they have been successfully completed without the need of any technical intervention on the robot. Surgenius BETA is compliant with the applicable EU regulations." (You can learn more about its history from the previous posts.) The robot received CE mark in March, and now the beta prototype is getting ready for clinical trials. 
    "The Surgenius BETA surgical robot is the first component of the surgical system under development by Surgica Robotica. It has the capability to perform the common tasks of laparoscopic surgery such as:
    • Soft-tissue grabbing
    • Cauterization
    • Soft-tissue cutting
    • Suturing
    The robot offers excellent performance and reliability with unprecedented flexibility and modularity. The robotic arms can be positioned freely around the surgical bed, as they are independent of each other. They can be equipped with Surgica Robotica's high dexterity instruments, which allow great precision and wide maneuverability. The surgical system can be configured with the number of robotic arms that is necessary for the intervention, from one single arm to as many arms as they fit around the surgical bed.
    With high precision and proper scaling, the system can significantly improve the outcome in the surgical procedure, at a cost per procedure that can be accurately tuned."

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    ISO/IEC for a standard on medical robots

    Back in February, I took part in the ISO/TC 184/SC 2/JWG 9 work as a national deleguate. This is the standing joint committee of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) aiming to develop a new collateral standard for medical robot safety. The rest stands for: 
    • TC 184: Technical Committee on Automation Systems and Integration
    • SC 2: Sub-Committee on Robots and Robotic Devices
    • JWG 9: Joint Work Group on Standard for Medical Robots (with WG 7 & IEC/SC 62A).
    Here is the official introduction to the group's intention:
    "First, we need to understand what additional hazard a medical robot can give and what is not yet covered within IEC 60601. Currently addressed by IEC 60601 are the mechanical hazards, including the trapping zones such as pinching or guards, the electrical hazards, temperature and other hazards, like disinfection, sterilization and biocompatibility, and software reliability, handled within the overall term of the PROGRAMMABLE ELECTRICAL MEDICAL SYSTEMS (PEMS).
    The potential missing parts discovered within IEC 60601 are common measures for the accuracy and
    repeatability of medical robots. Furthermore, safety factors might be either too restrictive or are missing for dynamic motions and the contact with humans, such as operators or patients, is unique for medical robots compared to industrial robots. Also, medical robots can require a continuous activation for operation but not in any case. Emergency situations and its countermeasures would also be part of the new standard.
    The new collateral standard should give guidance with the risk assessment for the above specific topics. The basic safety and essential performance of a medical robot have to be understood.
    At the present stage, there are more questions than answers with the following being some of the key issues:
    • What are the differences between a robot as a machine or a medical device?
    • What are the differences between medical robots and other medical devices?
    • How can the risk-benefit balance for patients, versus the risk to operators/third parties in using medical robots to perform intended tasks, be defined?"
    The February meeting (at Disney's military resort Shades of Green) was focusing on the proper definitions of automation vs automated function vs autonomy. We tried to keep our focus on the ALFUS concept, developed by an NIST committee. Eventually, we also incorporated in the recommendation an evalobarated version from Kabe and Endslay (2004). Will report here on later advances.
    The next round will be in July, Milan. Parallel, a surgical robotics workshop will be orgnaized.

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Report on the debate at SAGES on surgical robotics


    Two pro: 
    • Dr. Mark Talamini of UC San Diego 
    • Dr. Richard Satava of University of Washington
    Two con: 
    • Dr. Nathaniel Soper of Northwestern Memorial Hospital 
    • Dr. W. Scott Melvin of Ohio State University
    For more market numbers and data, scrol back the blog, or. e.g., check this article from the New England J. of Medicine.
    You were also there? Having a different opinion? Put it in the comments!