The purpose of this paper is to consider surgical robotics, with a focus on technology and design issues for remote‐mode operation assistance. The investigation leads to the definition of the technical characteristics of a co‐robotic positioning device (CRPD), to be developed in support of a split‐duty approach to planning. The expected characteristics and advantages are outlined, including the operation potential of special‐purpose devices (e.g. an automatic changer for surgical tools) and of scope‐driven enhancers (e.g. the exploration of the intervention theatre).
The paper addresses example developments based on projects performed with the co‐operation of other robot laboratories in Munich and Paris. The CRPD concept is applied in relation to the DLR KineMedic® arm (developed by the Munich laboratory), and with the LRP prototype mini‐arm (built by the Paris laboratory).
Minimally‐invasive surgery deserves increasing attention to reduce post‐operative hospital stays and to reduce complications. This leads to new trends in robotics, to facilitate safe, fast and accurate remote manipulation, and integrated computer‐aided implements. The features of the example CRPD design are summarised for the two cases.
The overall comments consider minimally‐invasive robotic surgery as a given intervention practice in the near future, and the split‐duty approach, supported by the CRPD technology, as a valuable aid for human‐robot co‐operation, according to the “best‐of‐skills” idea, supporting intervention under the surgeon's control.
This investigation shows new results aimed at expanding the operation versatility of robotics with integrated intelligence, to enhance scope‐driven alternatives and out‐of‐reach handling with improved dexterity and safe autonomic processing.
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