Robotic Guidance with Co-Manipulation for Laparoscopy Training

To investigate whether a robotic guidance for hand-movement in laparoscopy training would result in real learning or avoid learning by introducing dependency on the robot? To find out how and what mode of co-manipulated guidance would result in real learning.
Description of the Project: 

Physical co-manipulation and physical guidance is a method considered by researchers for skill training of hand manipulations typical in laparoscopy training in medicine. However there has been yet no scientific evidence for or against,

-whether physical guidance results in actual learning by the subject or simply makes the subject lazier by increasing the reliance on a guide,

-whether gradual provision of physical guidance would result in better learning of the skill,

-whether there are other ways of designing, adapting, and modifying a physical guidance – compared to what exists - in order to achieve fast and effective learning,

-whether a physical guidance scheme can be tested for effectiveness.

This project will aim at answering the above questions through development of three exemplary physical guidance techniques (impedance compensation, virtual fixtures, and path guides) and testing them on scenarios of laparoscopic suturing and knot tying within a laparoscopy training box.

Resources required: 
Two robot arms, two force/torques sensors, a laparoscopy training box, laparoscopy training games. Consumables and equipment repair costs.
Project number: 
First Supervisor: 
Heriot-Watt University
Second Supervisor(s): 
First supervisor university: 
Heriot-Watt University
Essential skills and knowledge: 
Desirable skills and knowledge: 
Medical robotics, machine learning, image processing.
Funding Available: 

Tugal, H., Gautier, B., Kircicek, M., and Erden, M.S., 2018, "Hand-Impedance Measurement During Laparoscopic Training Coupled with Robotic Manipulators", Proc. of  IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2018), October 1-5, Madrid, accepted.

Erden, M.S. and Billard, A., 2016, “Robotic assistance by impedance compensation for hand movements while manual welding”, IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, 46 (11): 2459-2472.

Kragic, D., Marayong, P., Li, M., Okamura, A.M., Hager, G.D. (2005), “Human-machine collaborative systems for microsurgical applications”. Int. Jour. of Robotics Research, 24 (9): 731-741.

Abbott, J.J., Okamura, A.M. (2006), “Stable forbidden-region virtual fixtures for bilateral telemanipulation”. J. of Dynamics Systems, Measurement, and Control, 128: 53-64