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VerroTouch: Tactile augmentation for robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery

Description:

Brief Description:

Providing tactile and audio feedback during robotic surgery produces an immersive experience for surgeons that can lead to safer and more efficient procedures.

 

Technology:

Robotic systems allow surgeons to carry out minimally invasive procedures using remote hand controls to guide surgical instruments. While video feeds provide visual access to the surgical site, the surgeon lacks the important tactile cues that are available during conventional surgery. The sense of touch, or haptic sensation, is invaluable in a surgeon’s interaction with tools and patient tissue. However, transferring this information to the operator of a robotic system is a challenging technical problem; thus, commercially available surgical robot controllers rarely provide any haptic feedback. In the few cases where haptic feedback does exist, the technology is generally imprecise, noisy, and slow.

Existing robotic surgery systems can be made more immersive through the incorporation of VerroTouch technology. Any rigid-arm robotic system can be equipped with this technology to provide tactile and audio sensations that let the surgeon perceive the strength and type of surgical tool contact. VerroTouch provides adjustable, crisp, lag-free feedback without the need for specialized goggles or additional handles. When asked to complete a series of dry-lab tasks using a robotic surgery system outfitted with this technology, 95% of surgeons preferred the addition of vibrational feedback, saying it made them more aware of instrument contacts. Surgeons also respond positively to auditory feedback, which has the potential to enhance procedural and ambient awareness for the entire operating room staff. Overall this technology promises to accelerate surgeon learning and could lead to safer procedures for patients.

 

Applications:

•       Enhances procedural awareness in robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery

•       Training tool for robotic surgeons

 

Advantages:

•       Immersive, crisp, and natural feedback that does not interfere with robot operation

•       Audio and tactile feedback exist even when visual cues are obstructed

•       Enhances the awareness of surgeons and increases training efficiency

 

Stage of Development: Bench Prototype

 

Intellectual Property

Issued Patents:        

US 9,333,039

KR 1785751

EU Patent Pending

 

Reference Media:

https://www.ted.com/talks/katherine_kuchenbecker_the_technology_of_touch

Surg Endosc, 2013, 27: 656

Surg Endosc, 2015, 29: 2970

 

Desired Partnerships: License

 

Docket: W5395

 

 


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cortney Cavanaugh
Licensing Officer, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
215-898-9591
ccav5@upenn.edu
Inventors:
Katherine Kuchenbecker
Keywords:
Robotics
Surgical Instruments