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National Robotics Initiative grant to create smarter surgical robots
Date:10/25/2013

Providing surgical robots with a new kind of machine intelligence that significantly extends their capabilities and makes them much easier and more intuitive for surgeons to operate is the goal of a major new grant announced as part of the National Robotics Initiative.

The five-year, $3.6 million project, titled Complementary Situational Awareness for Human-Robot Partnerships, is a close collaboration among research teams directed by Nabil Simaan, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University; Howie Choset, professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University; and Russell Taylor, the John C. Malone Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University.

"Our goal is to establish a new concept called complementary situational awareness," said Simaan. "Complementary situational awareness refers to the robot's ability to gather sensory information as it works and to use this information to guide its actions."

"I am delighted to be working with Nabil Simaan on a medical robotics project," Choset said. "I believe him to be a thought leader in the field." Taylor added, "This project advances our shared vision of human surgeons, computers and robots working together to make surgery safer, less invasive and more effective."

One of the project's objectives is to restore the type of awareness surgeons have during open surgery where they can directly see and touch internal organs and tissue which they have lost with the advent of minimally invasive surgery because they must work through small incisions in a patient's skin. Minimally invasive surgery has become increasingly common because patients experience less pain, blood loss and trauma, recover more quickly and get fewer infections, and is less expensive than open surgery.

Surgeons have attempted to compensate for the loss of direct sensory feedback through pre-operative imaging, where they use techniques like MRI, X-ray imaging and ultrasound t
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Contact: David Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert

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