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'Open-source' robotic surgery platform going to top medical research labs
Date:1/12/2012

SANTA CRUZ, CA--Robotics experts at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Washington (UW) have completed a set of seven advanced robotic surgery systems for use by major medical research laboratories throughout the United States. After a round of final tests, five of the systems will be shipped to medical robotics researchers at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Nebraska, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, while the other two systems will remain at UC Santa Cruz and UW.

"We decided to follow an open-source model, because if all of these labs have a common research platform for doing robotic surgery, the whole field will be able to advance more quickly," said Jacob Rosen, associate professor of computer engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz and principal investigator on the project.

Rosen and Blake Hannaford, director of the UW Biorobotics Laboratory, lead the research groups that developed the Raven II robotic surgery system and its predecessor, Raven I. A grant from the National Science Foundation funded their work to create seven identical Raven II systems. Hannaford said the systems will be shipped out from UW by the end of January. After they are delivered and installed, all seven systems will be networked together over the Internet for collaborative experiments.

Robotic surgery has the potential to enable new surgical procedures that are less invasive than existing techniques. For some procedures, such as prostate surgery, the use of surgical robots is already standard practice. In addition, telesurgery, in which the surgeon operates a robotic system from a remote location, offers the potential to provide better access to expert care in remote areas and the developing world. Having a network of laboratories working on a common platform will make it easier for researchers to share software, replicate experiments, and collaborate in other ways.

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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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