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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Koh Young Technology's surgical robots

Dr. Byung Ju Yi, a professor of the Department of Electronics & System Engineering at the ERICA Campus (formerly Ansan Campus) of Hanyang University in Ansan in Gyeonggi-do developed a prototype for ear surgery in 2011, utilizing 3-D imaging technology for the first time to address the complexity of ear surgeries.  This was the ESOBOT (Ear Surgical Robot), jointly developed by Yi's team, the Medical School of Hanyang University, and Jae Sung Hong, a professor at the Department of Robot Engineering of Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST). They first developed a technology to transform the facial contours of patients into 3-D data by the CT (computed tomography) technique and attached an electric surgery drill to the robot arm. The robot drilled a hole into the temporal bone, allowing surgery inside the middle ear. Experiments were conducted with mannequins to increase the precision. The Korean Ministry of Knowledge and Economy granted KRW13 billion for research over five years, then commercialization was taken over by Koh Young Technology Inc.

Koh Young Technology Inc., which specializes in 3D measurement and inspection technologies, plans to expand its business into the medical sector: both into the neurosurgical and the orthopedics domain. First, it is preparing to commercialize a brain surgery robot built on the ESOBOT, with the goal of winning approval from the Korea Food and Drug Administration and from the U.S. FDA sometime this year.
Koh Young Technology is already testing the system with a couple of university hospitals in Korea as well as with the Harvard Medical School in the U.S.

Source: IEEE, Robotics Business Review, Koh Young's patent

Friday, February 24, 2017

Teleoperated surgical retractor system

A new 2DOF da Vnci tool is on its way from Intuitive, as a new patent predicts: 
"A minimally invasive surgical system includes a guide tube and a telemanipulatively controlled surgical retractor instrument that extends through the guide tube. The portion of the retractor instrument that extends beyond the distal end of the guide tube includes several links that can be steered. In some aspects, joints between the links provide degrees of freedom in the same direction of movement. In some aspects, a grasping end effector is coupled to the end of the retractor instrument, and in further aspects the grasping end effector is coupled by a passively rotating wrist mechanism that rotates as the retractor instrument is moved while the end effector grasps tissue."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Video Wednesday

 TAIROS HIWIN Surgical Robot-Assisted Navigation System

Monday, February 20, 2017

Standardization for safe surgical robotics

A recent article in the Int J Med Robotics Comput Assist Surg analyzed the current status of surgical robotics, and the future ways of development from safety and standardization point of view.
The paper "A research review on clinical needs, technical requirements, and normativity in the design of surgical robots" from Diaz et al. "explores the clinical needs and the technical requirements that will trace the roadmap for the next scientific and technological advances in the field of robotic surgery, the metrics that should be defined for safe technology development and the standards that are being elaborated for boosting the industry and facilitating systems integration."
Their key findings include: 
"Cost reduction, shorter time of intervention, reduced time and complexity for the setup, reduced OR footprint, enhanced data integration and improved decisionmaking have been identified as the main clinical needs that have to be met in order to achieve greater acceptance and market penetration of surgical robots. Taking into account these clinical needs, the main technical requirements that should be addressed in the near future, and that consequently, will trace the roadmap for the next scientific and technological advances in the field of robotic surgery are: reduced size, shape and weight of the equipment, increased number of DOFs, increased resolution, improved platform stability, force feedback feeling, suitable visualization and spatial orientation of the surgical field, enhanced wireless modules, triangulation capabilities, reduction of repetitive instrument exchange, flexibility of rigid instruments, enhanced manoeuvrability, suction and irrigation capabilities, improved ergonomics and unified training and credentialing requirements."

Areas of improvement for surgical robots in different clinical applications:
Source: Wiley's Int J Med Rob

Friday, February 17, 2017

High-end surgical robotics research with the DVRK

"The da Vinci Research Kit (DVRK) is an “open-source mechatronics” system – consisting of electronics, firmware, and software that are used to control systems based on the first-generation da Vinci system. Research institutions can access the open-source software and electronics through GitHub. To date, researchers at 25 institutions –from Canada and Italy, to Hungary, Israel and Hong Kong – are using the dVRK.
What’s more, the dVRK is making retired and outdated da Vinci systems useful again.
“Until now, research into more sophisticated control strategies using the da Vinci system was hampered by a lack of a robust common platform, leaving [researchers] to choose between building an expensive, one-of-a-kind system, or using an overly simplistic platform that reduced research impact,” explained Peter Kazanzides from JHU LCSR.
Many institutions had obtained their da Vinci robots from manufacturer Intuitive Surgical, Inc., which retired its first-generation systems as they became outdated. The company donated the system’s mechanical components to research institutions interested in pursuing tele-robotic medical research. (Others got their retired systems from hospitals or online.)
However, an issue arose: universities had only received the mechanical parts, and not the electronics or software that made the systems work. This is where Hopkins came in.
When Hopkins acquired its first da Vinci back in 2004, a team of researchers led by Kazanzides and Allison Okamura (now at Stanford University) decided to build electronics and write custom software for the system tailored to their research objectives. Colleagues at other institutions took notice.
In 2012, the Kazanzides team joined with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Stanford, and University of British Columbia to better manage their da Vinci related work. The result, according to Kazanzides, is that many research universities around the world now have access to a robotic surgical system that would be extremely expensive to buy and to customize.
Researchers at the University of Washington developed a similar system, complete with mechanics, electronics, and software, called Raven. Raven is similar to the parts of the dVRK that operate on the patient, but does not include master controllers. Seattle-based company Applied Dexterity has sold about 18 of these systems to other research universities and institutions. Between those using the dVRK and those using Raven, there are about 40 institutions around the world using these systems for minimally invasive medical robotics applications, and that community continues to grow.
With the support of the $969,800 National Science Foundation grant, which is administered through the NSF’s National Robotics Initiative, the Kazanzides team plans to expand the consortium each year. (According to Kazanzides, at least eight more institutions have expressed interest in obtaining a dVRK.) The team also plans to improve the technical details of the da Vinci and is devising a way to consolidate and merge the technology in various surgical tele-robotic units, including the Raven and the dVRK."

Read more at Hopkins

Source: LCSR, JHU