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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

BioRob2012 in Rome

Back in June, I (partially) attended the BioRob conference in Rome, as part of the great Italian Bioengineering Week. BioRob is a more recently founded biannual conference series of the IEEE RAS and EMBS socieries. The first one was in Pisa, then Scottsdale in 2008, Tokyo 2010 and now Rome. In 2012, it was organized at the charming Angelicum Congress Center. (The same venue of ICRA2007.)
Very unfortunate that most of the surgical robotics papers were removed form the conference, and moved to a side event: a 2-day symposium  on Surgical Robotics. (Far out of the city, and for an extra fee.)
Either way, based on the publications, one can get a good update on the well-know lab's current efforts, from the Heartlander and Micron of CMU to the Eye Robot of Hopkins and the continuum robots at Vanderbilt. Excerpts from the program:
There were more sessions, plenaries, workshops, and poster presentations as well (including my ill-fated poster on patient motion compensation, guest-presented by Tom Wedlick...)     

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mazor's Renaissance approved for brain surgery

  Mazor Robotics' Renaissance just received FDA clearance for neuro procedures. "Mazor's Renaissance system and its predecessor, SpineAssist, have been used in several thousand spine surgeries, including procedures for scoliosis and other complex spinal deformities, osteotomies, and biopsies. The company says that its technology is also applicable to brain surgery for uses such as biopsies, placements of shunts, and placement of neurostimulation electrodes, such as those used for deep brain stimulation." The first brain surgery was performed at HSK Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany
The company hopes to provide the neuro setup as an add-on to the already cleared spine application from early 2013. Previously, application accuracy of the system has proved to be 1 mm, with 98.7% accurate pedicel screw placement ratio. Preceeding, Mazor's SpineAssist was successfully utilized in over 2,000 spinal surgeries worldwide, accurately placing more than 12,000 implants. The first 2 Renaissance systems were sold in November 2011, for $700K each.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Telelap ALF-X moves ahead

Sofar's Telelap ALF-X system can now be found on facebook as well. Check out their gallery for recent medical demo shots. Also, you can now download their brochure.

"The Telelap ALF-X is equipped with an eye-tracking system that controls the endoscopic view by moving any point looked at to the center of the screen.  The eye-tracking system enables activation of the various available instruments by merely looking at their respective icons on the screen. The Telelap ALF-X is designed for endoscopic interventions in surgery, gynaecology, urology and thoracic surgery, thanks to its modularity, adaptability and cost-e ectiveness of its surgical instruments. Due to the haptic feedback, the Telelap ALF-X enables the perception of the consistency of tissues and the forces exerted by the surgical instruments, as for instance when suturing knots.  The Telelap ALF-X enhances surgical dexterity due to its easy coordination between the hand and the instrument, motion scaling and 3D vision."
The first clinical (porcine) studies with the system:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Electromagnetic tracking system assessment

One of my key research ares i intraoperative tracking, and electromegnetic navigation within. Within the frames of an international collaboration we are working on the standardization of EM system assessment protocol. If you are interested to join, let us know!
Intra-operative navigation is the key enabling components of advanced minimally invasive surgical procedures. One of the most  promising  tools  is Electromagnetic Tracking (EMT) that has found its use in various domains. EMT systems ideally provide the sub-millimeter-resolution  position and orientation of small sensor coils—integrated into surgical devices. EMT does not require line-of-sight to the target as opposed to optical tracking, therefore can be used intracavitary. In the mean while, the distortion caused by conductive or ferromagnetic materials (laparoscopic tools, metal trays, operating table, etc.) and other electronic devices leads to a significant reduction in performance. The necessary step towards  the wider use of EMT is  improvement in  tracking  error detection and compensation. Together with our collaborating partners from six institutions in five  countries, we started the development of a unified system assessment protocol. The fundamental aim of the workgroup is to provide guidelines and test cases to repeatable and widely applicable EMT system assessment.
We work  to elaborate a static and a dynamic measurement protocol that describes all important environmental and setup-related conditions, and  can  easily be  repeated  in  other laboratories or at  a clinical site.  General requirements for a widely usable assessment technique are the following:
  • simplicity—making the experiment as compact and practical as possible,
  • reproducibility—requiring no specific hardware,
  • usable for the all types of EMT systems,
  • usable for all shapes and sizes of EMT generators,
  • providing recommendations for measuring new,currently not available systems and components.
We initiated a research collaboration between various groups to maximize the coverage and the impact of the future protocol.  Current partners include (besides the Budapest Technical University and Economics): 
The final version of the protocol will consist of a description of  the  complete assessment for static and dynamic, clinical and un-distorted environments as well.You can read more about it in our recent publication at the SCATh workshop, and more publications will follow soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's news with ON, Canada?

Not so long ago I came across a profound anaylsis of Canadian health care research environment and market, primarily focusing on Minimally Invasive Technologies in Ontario state. The 2010 document looks into the status of Titan Medical, Medtronic Canda, Claron Tech, Sentinelle Medical, Attodyne, Colibri Tech and Profound Medical; while listing the research projects in labs like the PERKS, Robarts and CIGITI. You can access the document here.

If you are aware of similarly detaild analysis for the US of Europe, let us know!

Monday, July 9, 2012

CIS news

 A cute figure from a 1991 ROBODOC paper:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Revisiting Hopkins

Research at Johns Hopkins LSCR lab has always been a top priority, and for the better. Semester after semester great work is coming out from the folka. I was visiting my Hopkins firends latest in May.
They are the recepient of one of the Raven 2.0 systems distributed. Although it was badly damaged during shipping, by now it's up and operational, although not yet used to it's full capacity. (Read morre about the Raven's development here.) 
An eye-catching project is the 25 MPX Balaur display. ("The Balaur Wall's namesake is a mythological Romanian dragon with twelve heads.") The gigantic interactive screen is supposed to get commercialized soon.
This was the first time I saw the working teleoperation for MLI cutting with the da Vinci console. (Latest updates are in from RSS.) (The remote satellite servicing project was covered here before.)
The Steady-Hand Eye robot is developing nicely, NSF has an entire page devoted to it

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Visiting Children's National Hospital

Back in May, I was given the chance to visit the new failities of the Children's National Hospital in D.C.
"The creation of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation was made possible by a $150 million gift from the government of of Abu Dhabi, representing a shared vision to significantly and measurably advance medical innovation to create healthier and safer surgical outcomes for children worldwide." Our long friend and partner, Kevin Cleary is now the Technical Director and Lead Principal Investigator, joining one and a half years ago. "He leads the Institute’s interdisciplinary bioengineering team with a focus on improving visualization in pediatric surgery through medical devices and robotics. As part of that work, he will modify devices designed for adult surgery to work better in the smaller bodies of children." Kevin Cleary has long been leading the IGSTK development group, and directed various research projects in intraoperative navigation.
Currently, the group is working on NOTES robotics, force-based tissue interaction (with a KUKA LWR and a MIMIC haptic interface), sensorized phantoms (for pediatric operations) and having a da Vinci for further projects.
They also run a surgical innovation blog.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Solution for Quiz#1

 I have only received a half solution for our first quiz. The solution is "Immersion Systems' Impulse Engine 3000", since it was the first prototype of Berkeley's Laparoscopic Telesurgical Workstation. (Learn more about their efforts here.)
A hint how to solve these questions in 10 sec: use Google's image search--drag and drop any image to the research query box to find similar ones on the internet!