In a world first, Australian Centre for Robotic Imaginative and prescient researchers are pushing the boundaries of evolution to create bespoke, miniaturised surgical robots, uniquely matched to particular person affected person anatomy.
The cutting-edge analysis mission is the brainchild of Centre PhD researcher Andrew Razjigaev, who impressed HRH The Duke of York with the Centre’s first SnakeBot prototype designed for knee arthroscopy, final November.
Now, the younger researcher, backed by the Centre’s world-leading Medical and Healthcare Robotics Group, is taking the subsequent step in surgical SnakeBot’s design.
Rather than a single robotic, the brand new plan envisages a number of snake-like robots connected to a RAVEN II surgical robotic analysis platform, all working collectively to enhance affected person outcomes.
The novelty of the mission extends to growth of an evolutionary computational design algorithm that creates one-of-a-kind, patient-specific SnakeBots in a ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ battle.
Solely probably the most optimum design survives, particularly suited to suit, flexibly manoeuvre and see inside a affected person’s knee, doubling as a surgeon’s eyes and instruments, with the added bonus of being low-cost (3D printed) and disposable.
Main the QUT-based Medical and Healthcare Robotics Group, Centre Chief Investigator Jonathan Roberts and Affiliate Investigator Ross Crawford (who can be an orthopaedic surgeon) mentioned the semi-autonomous surgical system might revolutionise keyhole surgical procedure in methods not earlier than imagined.
Professor Crawford burdened the intention of the robotic system – anticipated to include surgical dual-arm telemanipulation and autonomous vision-based management – was to help, not exchange surgeons, finally enhancing affected person outcomes.
“For the time being surgeons use what are finest described as inflexible ‘one-size-fits-all’ instruments for knee arthroscopy procedures, though sufferers and their anatomy can differ considerably,” Professor Crawford mentioned.
He mentioned the surgical system being explored had the potential to vastly surpass capabilities of present state-of-the-art surgical instruments.
“The analysis mission goals to design snake-like robots as miniaturised and extremely dexterous surgical instruments, fitted with pc imaginative and prescient capabilities and the power to navigate round obstacles in confined areas such because the anatomy of the human physique,” Professor Crawford mentioned.
“Dexterity is extremely vital because the robots should not solely required to achieve surgical websites however carry out sophisticated surgical procedures by way of telemanipulation.”
Professor Roberts mentioned the analysis mission was a world-first for surgical robotics concentrating on knee arthroscopy and wouldn’t be potential with out the multi-disciplinary experience of researchers on the Australian Centre for Robotic Imaginative and prescient.
“One of the vital thrilling issues about this mission is that it’s bringing many concepts from the robotics neighborhood collectively to kind a sensible answer to a real-world downside,” he mentioned.
“The mission has been continuing at a fast tempo, primarily because of the exhausting work and brilliance of Andrew, supported by a staff of advisors with backgrounds in mechanical engineering, mechatronics, aerospace, medication, biology, physics and chemistry.”
Because of full his PhD analysis mission by early 2021, Andrew Razjigaev graduated as a mechatronics engineer at QUT in 2017 and has been part of the Centre’s Medical and Healthcare Robotics Group since 2016.
The 23-year-old mentioned: “Robotics is all about serving to folks indirectly and what I’m most enthusiastic about is that this mission might result in improved well being outcomes, fewer problems and quicker affected person restoration.
“That’s what actually drives my analysis – with the ability to assist folks and make a constructive distinction. Knee arthroscopy is certainly one of commonest orthopaedic procedures on the earth, with round 4 million procedures a yr, so this mission might have a big impact.”
Andrew mentioned he hoped his work would result in real-world growth of recent surgical instruments.
“Surgeons need to do the very best they will and face numerous challenges,” he mentioned. “Our goal is to supply surgeons with new instruments to have the ability to carry out present surgical procedure, like knee arthroscopy, extra effectively and safely and to maybe carry out surgical procedure that is just too troublesome to aim with immediately’s instruments.
“It’s additionally extremely cool to make use of evolution in my work! There’s no query we’re witnessing the age-old course of – the one distinction being it’s taking place inside a pc as an alternative of nature.”
- The method begins with a scan of a affected person’s knee. With the supervision of a physician, the pc classifies the areas for the SnakeBots to achieve within the knee (inexperienced space) and areas to keep away from (pink space).
- The ensuing geometry makes a 3D atmosphere for the SnakeBots to compete within the simulated evolution. It permits a lot of normal SnakeBot designs to be examined and scored on how nicely they carry out – specifically how nicely they manoeuvre to websites inside a affected person’s knee. The black strains within the check present among the trajectories a SnakeBot took to manoeuvre to these websites.
- The evolutionary computational design algorithm kicks in, frequently creating new generations of SnakeBots, re-testing and killing off weaker variants till one survives, uniquely matched to a person affected person’s anatomy. The SnakeBot that may safely attain these targets with extra dexterity wins the battle of evolution and claims the optimum design.
- The optimum SnakeBots are generated into 3D fashions to be 3D printed as low-cost, disposable surgical instruments distinctive to every affected person.
- They’re now able to be deployed for surgical procedure! The micro SnakeBots are connected to a bigger, table-top robotic platform (just like the RAVEN II) that positions them for entry into surgical incision websites.
- It’s anticipated that two SnakeBots are fitted with surgical devices at their tricks to allow a surgeon to carry out dual-arm teleoperated surgical procedures.
- A 3rd SnakeBot within the multi-bot system may have a digital camera put in at its tip. This digital camera system can be utilized by a robotic imaginative and prescient system to map a affected person’s physique cavity in order that the robotic may be steered in the direction of the areas of curiosity and away from delicate areas that ought to be prevented. It is going to observe the 2 arms and surgical space concurrently, working because the eyes of the surgeon.
Find out more in regards to the work of the Centre’s Medical and Healthcare Robotics Group in our newest annual report.