This project aims to develop a modular surgical robotic system for hybrid surgery.
There is a growing desire to use robotic arms in surgical procedures, as a surgeon’s accuracy and precision can be greatly enhanced, whilst minimizing patients’ risks and recovery time. However, thus far, these applications have been inaccessible to many surgeons and researchers worldwide.
To enable the provision of modular surgical robotic system for hybrid surgery and to open up these devices for general medical research, we aim to create a complete surgical robotic arm system with modular end-joints and end-effectors for universal surgical procedures (UP). The new UP system will provide the following features whilst maintaining affordability:
1) 7-DOF robotic arms that are directly driven by brushless DC motors for minimal wear, high and smooth torque responses, and low maintenance costs. The dimensions of the actuators will be optimized to provide a slim arm profile whilst maintaining superb mechanical performances, whereas the redundant kinematics would enable optimized workspace for avoiding obstacles while maintaining the provision of a programmable RCM.
2) Redundant and failure safe electromechanical designs with parallel power, computation, sensing, and back-drivable actuation systems. A robust, real-time software architecture will also be created to work in conjunction with the hardware to provide a low-latency and reliable control and communications framework on the network of arm actuators, sensors, and computers.
3) An intelligent teleoperation master device that alleviates surgeons’ stress, increases operation precision and accuracy, and prolongs the allowable operation duration.
4) A variety of end joint and end effectors for the enabling of different robotic surgeries, including laparoscope graspers and organ retractors for laparoscopy, uterus manipulator for hysterectomy, and miniaturized drills for orthopaedics. These modular end joints and end effectors can be switched and installed during operation with a minimal turn-around time.