"The future of surgery is not about blood and guts; the future of surgery is about bits and bytes.”
/Dr. Richard Satava/

Friday, December 2, 2016

VECLOC, the Voice and Eye-Controlled Laparoscopy Camera robot

Blue Ocean Robotics and its 2015-established company,  LapTics aim to create a robotic assistant for MIS procedures.

"LapTics IVS develops and sells the VECLOC - Voice and Eye Controlled Laparoscopy Camera Robot - to hospitals around the world. The VECLOC robot will transform the laparoscopy surgery by introducing an easy-to-use robot for controlling the positioning of the camera during the surgery and with an expected saving of 1 surgeon per surgey-operation performed as well as a reduction in time spend per surgery of up to 30 %. At the same time the VECLOC is intuitively controlled via eye movements and voice commands - and at a market price of less than 50.000€.

In 2015, Blue Ocean Robotics and Jens Jørgen Kjer have joined a collaboration on developing a robot arm for laparoscopic surgeries. It is named VECLOC - The Voice and Eye Controlled Laparoscopy Camera Robot. The first prototype has advanced to a level where the next generation will be able to be used in clinical trials. As a consequence, Blue Ocean Robotics and Jens Jørgen Kjer founded the company - LapTics IVS - which is now responsible for final approving of the product.     The product is a complete laparoscopic robot surgery system, consisting of an eye-tracking unit, a voice recognition unit, a robot arm and a control unit. It is the combination of these units that allows for an improvement of laparoscopic surgery equipment that is based on a combination of our natural senses, voice and vision, which allows the surgeon to work in a natural way. The surgeon does not need to adapt to the system, but rather makes use of already existing eye-gaze information and voice commands in the operation room.     Today the surgeon performs a laparoscopic procedure by holding two instruments going through two holes into the human body. To his side, the surgeon’s colleague, often another surgeon, assists by holding the laparoscopy camera. During the entire procedure, this assisting surgeon, waits for instructions to move the laparoscope manually according to the lead surgeon’s commands. With LapTics’ laparoscopic robot system, the surgeon is not performing surgery based on the assistant’s vision anymore, but on his own vision.     Claus Risager from Blue Ocean Robotics expects the product to be on the market within the next two or three years. “We will of course start our sales in Denmark, but we already have agreements with University hospital Karolinska in Stockholm and more“.

Blue Ocean Robotics is also working with its LapTics IVS subsidiary on the RoBi-Design project, which intends to make laparoscopic surgeries more secure and productive.

The product is a complete laparoscopic robot surgery system consisting of an eye-tracking unit, a voice recognition unit, a robot arm, and a control unit. The surgeon does not need to adapt to the system, which uses eye-gaze information and existing voice commands in the operating room.  Blue Ocean Robotics expects the robot to be fully developed and ready for the market in two to three years, said Risager.  “As was the case with our UV-Disinfection Robot, VECLOC entails exactly what RoBi-X is all about — collaboration,” he said. “Through RoBi-Design, we develop unique robot concepts to solve specific challenges and for realization of unexploited business opportunities in close collaboration with end users.”  “VECLOC benefits both the surgeon and the patient,” Risager continued.  “Today, laparoscopy requires complex and time-consuming coordination between multiple surgeons and assistants,” he said. “This solution enables the surgeon to rely only on a control unit and his or her own voice commands to perform the laparoscopy.” Fulfilling surgeons’ ‘wildest dreams’  “The procedure will likewise be less demanding of the patient and utilize the time even better,” Risager said. “VECLOC is not only pivotal for the individual hospital, but also for society and the healthcare sector as a whole.”  Jørgen Kjer was looking for improvement in laparoscopic operations, where one surgeon is usually the “puppeteer” for the other. Instead, he hoped that they could collaborate better.  “Using VECLOC … the patient will experience the operation to be shorter and safer. Furthermore, it will bring better ergonomics and a better focus on the operation for the surgeon,” he said. “This cooperation with Blue Ocean Robotics brings a product of high technological value and at the same time, it fulfils the wildest dream of a surgeon.”  Also in the pipeline, Blue Ocean Robotics is working on a robot to lift patients out of beds that can be called by patients themselves, a remote heart-scanning robot, and a bed-transportation robot. In addition, the company is developing drones and a fleet of small robots to assist traffic."

Source: Robot Business News

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Medineering secures Series A funding from Brainlab

"The Munich based surgical robotic startup medineering announced the successful closing of the Series-A-Round. The investment of medineering’ s new strategic partner Brainlab will enable the startup continuing its way to become a global surgical robotic manufacturer. Specifically, the investment will be used for the commercialization of the first robot for endo- and transnasal surgery.

“We started the development of our modular platform in October 2014 consisting of an intelligent arm and application specific robotic hands, which can be exchanged depending on the surgical needs. We got a great feedback for the first prototypes of our robotic hand for endo- and transnasal surgery. This motivated us to open our platform also for third-party robotic hands and instruments, depending on the dedicated surgical tasks,” said Stephan Nowatschin, CEO and co-founder of medineering. “The success story of Brainlab has motivated and inspired us from the early stage of medineering.”

“We were impressed by the potential of the technology, the ambitious founders and the team of medineering,” said Rainer Birkenbach, Executive Vice President at Brainlab. “The promising approach of medineering addresses reasonably the surgical needs of robotic assistance in the OR.” “We are very pleased about Brainlab’s trust and feel even more encouraged in our vision of establishing new ways in minimally invasive surgery”, added Maximilian Krinninger, CTO and cofounder of medineering. “Soon we will present the first robot* for endo- and transnasal approaches supporting surgeons facing anatomically complex working spaces with robotic assistance.”

Source:  medineering, Pressebox

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday fun

Painting with a da Vinci:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Video Wednesday

More on Nabil Simaan's lab:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Inside Vanderbilt's surgical robotics labs

"Examples include technologies for snake robots licensed to industry,  technologies for micro-surgery of the retina which lead to the formation of AURIS Surgical Robotics Inc., the IREP single port surgery robot which has been licensed to Titan Medical Inc. and serves as the research prototype behind the Titan SPORT (Single Port Orifice Robotic Technology). His lab is named the Advanced Robotics and Mechanism Applications (A.R.M.A.), and is focused on the following aspects of its mission:
  • Advancing the field of kinematics of mechanisms & robot design: We focus on developing new methods of synthesis, analysis & optimization of novel robots and mechanisms. Our current research efforts include developing a new generation of robots using flexible links, actuation redundancy, and various mechanical architectures. These robots are developed for surgical applications that include microsurgery and minimally invasive surgery.
  • Application-driven research: Although our research includes a considerable emphasis on mathematical methods of modeling of novel architectures, we aim at maintaining a sound balance between vital theoretical research topics and sound applications that benefit society. Our main focus is on developing new robots for applications in surgery. These robots may have complex and novel architectures, or simple, yet useful and beneficial mechanisms.
  • Student involvement in research: Our main educational goal is to offer a productive, competitive, and positive environment in which graduate & undergraduate students can develop. Undergraduate Students are welcome to participate in the ongoing research activity at ARMA pending space availability. See our link for undergraduate research under Education. 
    Outreach: Students and faculty and ARMA view research as an integrated part of making a positive contribution to society.We believe that this can be achieved by solving relevant engineering problems with beneficial applications as well as by training and encouraging new generations of engineers. ARMA routinely recruits high-school students, science teachers, and undergraduate students for hands-on project involvement in research and educational projects.
A recent interview reveals some of their latest prototypes and projects:

"Simaan and his team are creating a flexible robot that can maneuver into hard to reach places and give a sense of touch similar to a human hand. 
Simaan says his snake-like robots are unique because other devices that exist right now on the market are essentially motion replicators.“If I move my hand this way, the robot moves its hand similarly on the other side inside the patient,” said Simaan. “What we’re trying to do is go beyond the manipulation assistance into a process where the robot itself is helping the surgeon understand what the task is and is helping achieve the task.”Simaan says by having the robot partner with the surgeon, it helps elevate the surgeon’s skills and ultimately the quality of the surgery.The snake-like arms can move in all the directions a surgeon’s hand can move, with a “wrist” that rolls. They can also move in a very confined space and can perform dual arm tasks like knot-tying.“It’s actually better to leave some of the task, for example of regulating the force on the tissue, to the robot controller than having the human worry about it,” said Simaan. “The surgeon is still controlling that level, but they don’t have to worry about actively controlling it every fraction of a second.”
Simaan and other Vanderbilt researchers are experimenting with these robots in multiple procedures. One is vocal cord surgery—very common among singers.Currently, singers who undergo vocal nodule surgery have to undergo full anesthesia in an operating room.
“To gain access from the mouth into the airway you would have to pull basically the neck of the patient as straight as possible. You have to insert a tube through the mouth that generally butts against the teeth and helps keep the jaw open, then push the tongue out of the way,” said Simaan.The current procedure can sometimes cause injury. Simaan says his flexible robot would go through the nose, bypassing a gag reflex in the throat, turning a major surgery with full anesthesia into a more simplified out-patient procedure.“We can actually take something that’s now expensive in the way we’re doing surgery and we can maybe, with the help of new technology, simplify it, reduce trauma to the patient, and at the same time reduce health care costs,” said Simaan."

Source: Vanderbilt, Futurity, Express