Robotic Laparoscopic manipulator with embedded tracking software – preliminary results

Amir Szold, MD

Assia Medical Group and Assuta Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel

Objective: With the growing need for trained personnel in the operating room it was expected that robotic manipulators and camera holders will become standard equipment. This is not the current situation because the products that reached the market so far were expensive, took time to assemble and calibrate, and the interface with the surgeon caused distraction from the work flow during surgery. We have developed a small, computerized positioning device with embedded tracking system and a novel user interface.

Technology: The device arm attaches to a standard operating room table. The arm was designed with a very low profile and takes less than one minute to assemble. The system has embedded tracking software that continuously registers the location of the instrument tips. The surgeon-system interface is composed of disposable, miniature radiofrequency switches that may be attached to any laparoscopic instrument or the surgeon’s finger. The arm holds the camera in static and stable position until tracking is activated by one of the switches. When a switch is touched the arm moves the camera until the specific instrument tip is in the center of the visual field. The same switches may be used to drive the camera as a spatial joystick. The system design and use of the video signal eliminates the need for calibration of any kind, and allows immediate use after installation or repositioning.

Results: After preliminary trials with a first generation prototype and proof of concept a second generation arm was designed and built. It has been used in several large animal procedures and was shown to be easily assembled and with good tracking abilities. The camera motion was smooth, providing a very stable image, and the device allowed very good control by the surgeon. A human trial will be launched soon.

Conclusion: Preliminary result shows that the combination of a computerized arm with the automatic tracking system and the unique user interface results in an effective system compared to the currently available instruments and may popularize the use of such devices for camera holding and surgeon assistance. The system may be also useful for single incision MIS surgery as well as save expensive personnel and increase procedure safety and efficiency.

Session: Podium Presentation

Program Number: ET009

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