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

Monday, November 26, 2012

European Robotics Week

This is now the European Robotics Week: "The European Robotics Week offers one week of various robotics related activities across Europe for the general public, highlighting growing importance of robotics in a wide variety of application areas. The Week aims at inspiring technology education in students of all ages to pursue careers in STEM-related fields, i.e. science, technology, engineering and math."
In Hungary, we will also have open lab events on Tuesday 27th November. Learn more about lab visits, presentations and robot opportunities offered at SZTAKI, BME and Óbuda University.
A selection of other interesting events:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rehabilitation robotics for SPI patients

John M. Hollerbach, professor of computing, and research professor of mechanical engineering, at the University of Utah, director the Robotics Track, visited us as an IEEE RAS Distinguished Lecturer. He gave two exciting talks on rehabilitation robotics, how robotically actuated treadmills are improving the treatment for spinal cord injury patients.
"Patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSPI) often reach a plateau of walking ability in later stages of rehabilitation. We hypothesize that plateauing may be partly due to an inability of standard rehabilitation treadmills to depict realistic walking rather than to neuromuscular capacity. We trained four patients on the Treadport locomotion interface, which provides a relatively realistic display of real-world locomotion in a safe setting. There was statistically significant improvement in standard spatiotemporal gait parameters during training with the Treadport relative to training on a rehabilitation treadmill."

Such useful technology have been developed at other labs as well, such as the Lokomat, KineAssist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, at the University of Maryland, or the TheraStride. A similar system was introduced in the last guest talk at ShanghAI Lectures by Robert Riener: "Design Principles for Intelligent Rehabilitation Robots".

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SYMBIS Surgical System - the new MR compatible robotic neurosurgery platform

IMRIS has built a respectable business having already sold 55 of its VISIUS Surgical Theatres and claiming an order backlog of  $120M. IMRIS bought neuroArm technology in early 2010 to build a commercially available verison. (Learn more about the deal here.) Curently, they are undergoing human clinical trials. Some key features of the new system as listed in the Q3 investors' presentation:
  • "Augmented reality that combines real time optical images together with MR or CT images 
  • Surgeon defined surgical volume, accuracy and resolution 
  • Complete tactile sense, scalable and measurable
  • The surgical approach can be 10’s of mm with complete capability "
 IMRIS plans to sell  the system ASP $2M, with a service contract for $200K/year and  instruments & accessories would cost $1,200/procedure. These are similar numbers of the da Vinici's. They count on 1,1M neuro and spinal SYMBIS procedures in the US and over 2.2M annually world wide. Their FDA approval is pending.

As the  next step, Varian Medical Systems and IMRIS teamd up to co-develop a new MR-guided radiation therapy system.

Image credit: IMRIS

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CIS news

Other CIS news:

Image credit: IMRIS

Friday, November 2, 2012

Biorobotics lab at SNU

The BioRobotics Laboratory at Seoul National University deals with smart actuation, develops new materials and structures inspired by the nature to achieve smoother, nicer, more efficient locomotion. (That resonates very well to the Shanghai Lectures' focus.) Prof. Kyu Jin Cho and his students are working on micro machining, Smart Composite Microstructures (e.g. SMA spring actuators), Shape Deposition Manufacturing and smart actuation. A couple of their robots and cool mechanisms are listed here:
  • a jumping FLEA robot
  • Compliant Robotic Fish
  • Omegabot:Inchworm inspired robot
  • Compliant gripper : Adaptive gripping using buckling of flexure joints
  • Large deformable morphing structure: Flytrap-inspired robo
  • Portable Arm Exoskeleton for rehabilitation
  • Hands on Surgical Robot: Shared control system
Last week, I was happy to visit the group and whitness the smart structures they have. (Also gave a seminar talk on the roles of Standards in medical robotics development, which you can access here.)