University of Texas researchers discuss advances in medical robotics at the 2022 Texas Robotics Symposium – The Daily Texan

Thomas Cruz

College displays augmented reality to observers at the Anna Hess gymnasium, November 4, 2022.

Texas Robotics Presenting new advances in medical robotics technology at this year’s Texas Robotics Symposium on November 3-4.

In a panel discussion Friday morning, several core faculty members at Texas Robotics discussed the various uses of medical robots and how interactions between robots and humans can improve human health. In her presentation, Anne Magewicz Faye, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, said the use of surgical robots could help prevent deaths from human error.

Majewicz Fey, Principal Investigator at HeRo . Laboratory. “Although we have methods developed to help surgeons learn and train surgical skills and increase their effectiveness, the long-term goal of the lab is to see if we can design surgical robots that can help surgeons be more customized, efficient, and adaptive.”

Surgeons assess the competence of surgical robots by evaluating a series of skills, similar to how junior human surgeons are evaluated. Majewicz Fey’s presentation focused on a skill called bilateral coordination, or the ability of two robotic “hands” to work together in tandem while performing surgery.

The HeRo lab has studied bilateral coordination in humans to gain insight into how robots perform coordinated movements. With the aim of deconstructing elements of hand movement, the lab asked participants to perform distinct sets of movements to study functions such as interactions between dominant and non-dominant hands and the difficulties of performing incongruent tasks, such as head pats and rubbing. your belly.

The results will allow members of the HeRo lab to develop a better understanding of the components of human hand movement in order to improve the movement of robots.

The lab demonstrated bilateral coordination and other surgical skills that they discussed at an afternoon presentation of Da Vinci’s surgical robot. The first FDA-approved robotic surgical system, the da Vinci robotic system allows surgeons to control robotic-assisted instruments, improving their field of view and minimizing invasive surgeries. In addition, the system allows surgical procedures to be performed from a distance.

Although the robotic system has provided many benefits to surgery, researchers are still looking into some areas of study to improve their functionality. One notable problem is that although the surgeon’s field of view is improved through the use of the da Vinci’s camera instrument, they are unable to feel what they are working on.

“Imagine you are trying to tie your shoes and you don’t feel where your shoelaces are; you can just see them. … It’s hard to take things apart without breaking them,” said Jonathan Madera, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Committee members, including Majewicz Fey, said Friday that while medical robot technology continues to advance, fully automated robotic surgery is still a long way off. Majewicz Fey said separating surgeons from surgery brings the risk of losing important connections and connections between members of the surgical team.

“Being able to have that social information distributed in a meaningful way to the individuals within the (surgical) team … is going to be really important for the future,” Majewicz Fey said.

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