Robotic Platforms with Intuitive Control for Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures

Projects within this framework investigate the development and use of robotic platforms with intuitive control for minimally invasive surgical procedures. The focus of these projects is to develop a robotic platform, consisting of a robot and control strategies, to be used safely and intuitively for positioning end-effectors in minimally invasive surgeries, e.g. laserosteotome.

The main focus of this project is to develop a set of control modes for the robot, which will allow a surgeon to physically interact with the robot to steer it in a collaborative manner. The goal is to reduce time taken for setting up and conducting surgical procedures by providing low level autonomy to the robot while keeping the surgeon in charge of high-level decisions. Safety critical procedures will be developed for safe recovery or abort in case of technical failures, detectable adverse events, or surgeon command. Developed control strategies and safety procedures should control robot, end-effector, and laserosteotome within the same real-time system to guarantee deterministic response times. The project is evaluated on a commercially available robot (KUKA LBR iiwa 14) with an extended degree of freedom (DoF) using a linear axis (AL2412 motor controlled with a Bechkoff AX5106 servo drive).

The project was started with a self-prototyped 6-DoF robot (GG1).

Project leader: Dr. Nicolas Gerig

Murali Karnam

Murali Karnam

Dr. Nicolas Gerig

Dr. Nicolas Gerig

Prof. Dr. Georg Rauter

Prof. Dr. Georg Rauter


M. Zelechowski, B. Faludi, M. Karnam, N. Gerig, G. Rauter, and P. C. Cattin, “Automatic patient positioning based on robot rotational workspace for extended reality,” International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, pp. 1–9, 2023

M. Karnam, M. Zelechowski, P. C. Cattin, G. Rauter, and N. Gerig, “Workspace-aware planning of a surgical robot mounting in virtual reality,” in New Trends in Medical and Service Robotics (D. Tarnita, N. Dumitru, D. Pisla, G. Carbone, and I. Geonea, eds.), (Cham), pp. 13–19, Springer Nature Switzerland, 2023

M. Karnam, M. Zelechowski, P. C. Cattin, G. Rauter, and N. Gerig, “Augmented reality for 6-dof motion recording, preview, and execution to enable intuitive surgical robot control,” Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 225–228, 2022

M. Zelechowski, M. Karnam, B. Faludi, N. Gerig, G. Rauter, and P. C. Cattin, “Patient positioning by visualising surgical robot rotational workspace in augmented reality,” Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 451–457, 2022

M. Karnam, P. C. Cattin, G. Rauter, and N. Gerig, “Comparing cascaded real-time controllers for an extended KUKA LBR iiwa robot during physical human-robot interaction,” in Siebte IFToMM D-A-CH Konferenz 2021, February 2021

M. Karnam, A. Ivanovic, M. Eugster, M. Zelechowski, P. C. Cattin, G. Rauter, and N. Gerig, “Intuitive control of macro-robots for surgery,” Presentated at the 6th DBE Research Day, September 2020

M. Karnam, M. Eugster, R. Parini, P. C. Cattin, E. De Momi, G. Rauter, and N. Gerig, " Learned Task Space Control to Reduce the Effort in Controlling Redundant Surgical Robots,” in New Trends in Medical and Service Robotics (MESROB 2020), vol. 93, pp 161-168, Springer, November 2020 (Best Research Paper Gold Award)

M. Karnam, R. Parini, M. Eugster, P. Cattin, G. Rauter,and N. Gerig, “An intuitive interface for null space visualization and control ofredundant surgical robots”, In Proceedings on Automation in Medical Engineering (AUTOMED 2020), vol 1, Infinite Science Publishing, February 2020

G. Kosa, G. Aiello, P. Cattin, A. Zam, and G. Rauter, “Automation of a fexoscope for laser osteotomy,” in In 17 th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery, 2017.