Medical robotics has emerged as a new field in the last few decades due to the rapid development of assistive technologies. Today, it is considered one of the most advanced areas of robotics, thanks to the day-to-day improvements in the accuracy and reliability of machines. Its success is not only the result of the application of cutting-edge mechanical and control technologies in robotics research, but also of the growing acceptance of intelligent machines in our everyday lives.
The general perception of robots has changed as humanity has entered the 21st century. That is, these machines would be best used for tasks that require high precision, high speed and high repeatability. However, since no two patients are the same, no two manipulations are the same when it comes to medical robotics. Hence, attention has been drawn to human-operated robotic arms and intelligent service robots, which for the time being do not replace surgical staff entirely, but assist them in surgeries, patient care and much more.
The Antal Bejczy Centre for Intelligent Robotics is committed to being part of the development of modern healthcare to make this world a better and healthier place. We are striving to strengthen our collaboration with leading institutes in surgical robotics and universities, research centres interested in this field, to demonstrate our competences to the international community.
There are three main research areas in the world of medical robotics that our centre is involved in:
- tool – tissue interactions and soft tissue modelling
Human tissue is one of the most complex materials that is involved in robotic manipulations. Generally an anisotropic, viscoelastic, inhomogeneous material, its properties and behaviour have long been discussed by renowned researchers and scientists all over the planet. Our research aims to improve existing models and develop new ones for both soft tissue and rigid/elastic surgical device interactions in order to provide a strong foundation for model-based control methods. The models will be validated by simulations and phantom tests using the robotic infrastructure of our research centre.
- Teleoperation and telesurgery
The number of human-operated surgical robots used in hospitals is increasing every year. Their development is mainly aimed at overcoming the drawbacks of direct human operation, such as hand tremors and inaccuracy. However, as the surgeon is placed in a remote location where the robotic arm operating the patient is controlled, a number of new problems arise, such as time delays, the issue of haptic feedback and the proper use of communication protocols. Our research explores these issues among many others.
- Standards and ontologies
Surgical robots no longer perform manipulations in a human-free space as they usually do in industry. Therefore, new standards for robots operating in human-populated spaces are needed. In the rapidly evolving world of robotics, new definitions and rules are needed to increase the safety reliability of these applications. Our centre is committed to participate in this development by bringing forward new ideas on these topics.