The innovative feature lies in the development of new control loops for the movement of the robot, and new algorithms for the optimization of haptic feedback.
We are participating in the KIRUHAP initiative, in which we are researching the need to incorporate advanced technologies for remote manipulation and tactile feedback to the surgeon; incorporating the knowledge generated into potential robotic surgery devices, which are being developed by companies from the medical sector in Gipuzkoa.
At TECNALIA, we have the prior experience of the research team, which has previously worked on other developments related to the field of advanced robotics, signal processing and device usability studies.
New control loops and algorithms
The innovative feature lies in the development of new control loops for the movement of the robot, and new algorithms for the optimization of haptic feedback. It is based on the scientific hypothesis that several different reference systems come into play in the coordination of movements between the surgeon and the remotely-operated robot, which should be properly interpreted by the user’s brain; through visual information (what the user sees of the remote scene); and what is felt (movement and touch in the hands that remotely control the robot).
- Development of a surgical robot control model that provides intuitive remote-manipulation, implemented in software for the control loops.
- Development of haptic feedback technology that provides the surgeon with a better perception of the force exercised by the robot on the patient’s body, implemented in algorithms.
Robotic surgery by means of remotely operated robots presents several problems stopping them from being widely used in hospitals: the lack of tactile feedback (haptic) to the surgeon and the limited intuitiveness in the coordination between the surgeon’s hand movements and those of the robot lead to the appearance of fatigue and mental burden.
There is also a lack of precision in the operation when it comes to interpreting the scene, whereby information is only obtained through an endoscopic image (three-dimensional) but not of the force applied by the surgeon through the robot, which manipulates the surgical instruments in the patient’s body.