The remote robotic system has allowed surgeons to control robotic surgical tools in one place, so they can operate in the distance,media New Atlas reported. However, a new proximity sensing system could make the operation safer and more accurate than ever before.
In a typical remote robotic surgery setup, the surgeon looks at the incision on the video screen and moves the finger in the remote operating room to move the robot manipulator “finger” or other instrument accordingly in the remote operating room. The technique not only allows surgeons to operate on patients in one city, but also in the surgeon’s own position, helping them heal the tremors of their hands during delicate operations. As a result, these systems typically include haptic feedback, allowing operators to feel the amount of force they exert on the patient’s body tissue through vibrations on their fingertips.
In other words, for particularly vulnerable tissues, doctors may have exerted too much pressure the first time they “touched” remotely. It was with this in mind that a team at Texas Agricultural University created the experimental new system. In its current form, it combines optical distance sensors, applied to the inside of the finger of the robot gripper, and is remotely controlled by a human operator. When the device closes its finger to grab an object, the sensor measures the decreasing distance between itself and the object.
The data is transferred to the control gloves worn by the operator, which emit a gentle electrical pulse to their fingertips. The frequency of these pulses increases as the operator’s fingers get closer to the object. As a result, operators can fine-tune the amount of pressure they are about to apply to the item before they actually come into contact with the item.
In laboratory tests, 11 volunteers used the system to remotely complete an object grab. Each person is only directed twice by the video of the crawler, and the other two times under the guidance of video and haptic feedback. When feedback is used, they are able to reduce initial contact by about 70%. Ultimately, the researchers hope the technology will minimize the risk to patients during remote robotic surgery and be done in a non-distracting manner.
“Our goal is to come up with a solution that improves the accuracy of close-up estimates without increasing the burden of active thinking on this task. Chief scientist Hangue Park said. “When our technology is ready to be used in an operating environment, doctors will be able to visually know how far their robot fingers are from the underlying structure, which means they can remain actively focused on optimizing the patient’s surgical outcomes.” “
A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.