Medical Robotics

Medical robotics emerged as a new domain in the past few decades due to the rapid development of enabling technologies. Nowadays it is considered to be one of the most developing fields of robotics, thanks to the improvement in accuracy and reliability of the machines day by day. Its success is not only the result of the use of high-end mechanical and control technologies in robotic research and development but also the result of the growing acceptance of intelligent machines in our everyday life. 

The general opinion about robots has changed as humanity entered the 21st century. That is, the best use of these machines would be for tasks that require great accuracy, large speed and a high level of repeatability. However, as there are no two identical patients, the same manipulation cannot be carried out either, when it comes to medical robotics. Therefore, attention has been drawn towards human–operated robotic arms and intelligent service robots, which for the time being will not replace the surgical staff entirely but will aid them during surgeries, patient care and many others.

The Antal Bejczy Center for Intelligent Robotics is devoted to take part in the development of modern healthcare to make this world a better, healthier place. We strive to strengthen our collaboration with the leading institutes in surgical robotics and universities, research centers interested in this field of research in order to prove our competencies to the international community.

There are three major fields of research within the world of medical robotics that our center is involved with:

1.      Tool–tissue interactions and soft tissue modeling

The human tissue is one of the most complex materials that appear in robotic manipulations. It is generally an anisotropic, viscoelastic, inhomogeneous material, the investigation of its features and behavior has been discussed for a long time by well–known scientists and researchers throughout the planet. The aim of our research is to improve existing models and develop new ones both for soft tissues and for their interaction of rigid/elastic surgical tools in order to provide a strong base for model–based control methods. Models are verified by simulations and phantom trials, using the robot infrastructure of our research center.

2.      Teleoperation and telesurgery

The number of human–operated surgical robots in hospital use is growing every year. Their development is mainly focused on the overcoming drawbacks of direct human operation like hand tremor and inaccuracy. However, as the surgeon is placed to a remote place controlling a robotic arm operating on the patient, a great number of new problems arise such as time–delay, the issue of haptic feedback and the proper use of communication protocols. During our research, these issues are also investigated among many others.

3.      Standards and ontologies

Surgical robots are no longer carrying out manipulations in a human–free space as they generally do in the industry. Therefore there is a need of new standards for robots operating in a room filled with people. In the rapidly developing world of robotics new definitions and rules are needed in order to increase the safety reliability of these applications. Our center is devoted to take part in this development by coming up with new ideas related to these topics.