In a basement on the University of Washington campus perch seven identical robots. Named Raven, each has two winglike arms that end in tiny claws designed to perform surgery on a simulated patient.
Soon the robots will be flown to campuses across the country, where they will provide the first common research platform to develop the future of surgical robotics.
Members of the public are invited to view the robots at an open house Friday, Jan. 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UW's Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering.
After a round of final tests, five of the systems will be shipped to medical robotics researchers at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The other two systems will remain at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and UW.
"With everyone working on the same, open-source platform we can more easily share new developments and innovations," said Blake Hannaford, a UW professor of electrical engineering.
While some groups have built their own devices, this slows progress in the field.
"Researchers and funding agencies are tired of one-off robots they want to pursue projects that use standardized platforms," Hannaford said. "This is where the field is going."
The UW group is making its software work with the Robot Operating System, a popular open-source robotics code, so groups can easily connect the Raven to other devices. The robots were developed by Hannaford and Jacob Rosen, a former UW faculty member who is now an associate professor of computer engineering at UC Santa Cruz.
Until now, most research on surgical robotics in the United States has meant creating new software for commercial robots.
"Academic researchers have had limited access to these proprietary systems," Rosen said. "We are changing that by providing high-quality hardware developed within a
|Contact: Hannah Hickey|
University of Washington