Laser surgery is an interventional technique in which a highly focused laser beam ablates soft tissue with a high water content. Phonomicrosurgery is a specific form of laser surgery aimed at the treatment of abnormalities of the larynx and vocal cords. As with many surgical procedures phonomicrosurgery requires significant psychomotor skills, with the surgeons usually visualizing the operating site through a microscope, with associated poor ergonomics. Scalability, operative distance, lack of haptic feedback and the anatomically small nature of the vocal folds all combine to create numerous surgical challenges.
Recent work at IIT has aimed to develop new assistive technologies and robotic tools to provide safer, more intuitive, accurate, efficient, and overall improved user (surgeon) experience, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the surgical outcomes for the patient. The underlying principle is to augment the surgeon’s dexterity, manipulation skills and efficiency through advanced surgeon-robot interfaces, sensors, actuators and supervisory safety systems.
This presentation will outline a number of key enhancements (both in hardware and software) including: a new high speed, motorized laser micromanipulator, an augmented reality touch-screen display and graphics stylus, a haptic user interface for simulated physical tissue interaction, tissue modeling, learning algorithms for laser-tissue interaction (to reduce charring and tissue damage), and image processing–based techniques using intraoperative real-time tissue visualization based on fluorescence.
The presentation will describe the engineering and software design principles with the effectiveness of these upgrades being demonstrated in technology assessment trials, (with resident surgeons and medical students) testing the innovations described against current state-of-the-art laser microsurgery systems.
Darwin G Caldwell is Research Director at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy, Director of the Dept. of Advanced Robotics at IIT, and a Honorary Professor at the Universities of Sheffield, Bangor, Kings College London and Tianjin University in China. His research interests include innovative actuators, humanoid and quadrupedal robotics (iCub, cCub, COMAN, WalkMan HyQ, and HyQ2Max), force augmentation exoskeletons, dexterous manipulators, and medical robotics. He is the author or co-author of over 500 academic papers, and 19 patents and has received awards from several international journals and conferences including; IMechE Publications Best Paper (2009), Industrial Robot Journal (2010), IEEE ICRA (2007, 2015), IEEE/RSJ IROS (2007, 2012, 2013), ICAR (2003), IEEE Humanoids (2008, 2012), IEEE CASE (2008), IEEE ICMA (2011), IEEE Robio (2013) IFAC IAV, MMVR (2011), ACHI (2010), WorldHaptics (2007), ICINCO (2014), ICIRA (2015) and Virtual Concepts (2006). He is secretary of the IEEE/ASME Trans. on Mechatronics, Senior Editor for the Journal of Medical Robotics Research, Editor for Frontiers in Robotics and AI, and on the editorial board of the International Journal of Social Robotics and Industrial Robot. In 2015 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.