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

o map the internal structure of the body before they operate. They have employed miniaturized lights and cameras to provide them with visual images of the tissue immediately in front of surgical probes. They have also developed methods that track the position of the probe as they operate and plot its position on pre-operative maps.

Simaan, Choset and Taylor intend to take these efforts to the next level. They intend to create a system that acquires data from a number of different types of sensors as an operation is underway and integrates them with pre-operative information to produce dynamic, real time maps that precisely track the position of the robot probe and show how the tissue in its vicinity responds to its movements.

For example, adding pressure sensors to robot probes will provide real time information on how much force the probe is exerting against the tissue surrounding it. Not only does this make it easier to work without injuring the tissue but it can also be used to "palpate" tissue to search for hidden tumor edges, arteries and aneurisms. Such sensor data can also feed into computer simulations that predict how various body parts shift in response to the probe's movements.

To acquire sensory data during surgery, the VU team lead by Simaan will develop methods that allow surgical snake-like robots explore the shapes and variations in stiffness of internal organs and tissues. The team will generate models that estimate locations of hidden anatomical features such as arteries and tumors and provide them to the JHU and CMU teams to create adaptive telemanipulation techniques that assist surgeons in carrying out various surgical procedures.

To create these dynamic, three-dimensional maps, the CMU team led by Choset will employ a technique calledSimultaneous Localization and Mapping that allows mobile robots to navigate in unexplored areas. This class of algorithms was developed for navigating through rigid environments,
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Contact: David Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert

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