A robotic surgical system that can give surgeons the sense of touch while
they conduct keyhole surgery using a computer has been developed.
The HeroSurg robot is a major breakthrough to current technology, which now
limits robotic surgery to the sense of sight, and means laparoscopic or
keyhole/micro surgery will be safer and more accurate than ever before by
reducing trauma and lowering risk of blood loss and infection.
‘The extra real-time 3D virtual HeroSurg would help the surgeon identify the position relationship of the instruments and laparoscope.’
HeroSurg was developed by engineers from Deakin University in Australia and
Harvard University in the US, along with Suren Krishnan from the Royal Adelaide
Hospital and an Honorary Professor at Institute for Intelligent Systems
Research and Innovation (IISRI).
Krishnan said HeroSurg's addition of the sense of touch, provided through
technology known as haptic feedback, would lead to better patient outcomes. "The
major drawback of the current system is the lack of tactile feedback,"
"Tactile feedback allows a surgeon to differentiate between tissues and
to 'feel' delicate tissues weakened by infection or inflammation and dissect
them more carefully. Tactile feedback will allow us to use finer and more
delicate sutures in microsurgery," he said.
Krishnan said the haptics technology would also improve the ability to
distinguish between tissues involved with cancer from normal tissue.
The project's lead researcher Mohsen Moradi Dalvand, a visiting scholar at
Harvard, said the haptic feedback improved safety and allowed specific
manoeuvres and diagnoses to be performed with greater confidence.
"HeroSurg's unique features which allow it to overcome many of the
limitations of existing robotic laparoscopic systems, include collision
avoidance capability, modularity and automatic patient/bed adjustment,"
"The automatic collision avoidance enables surgeons to operate with
peace of mind and confidence that there will be no collision with instruments,
the robot's arms, or the laparoscope with the patient," he said. Other
unique HeroSurg features include high-resolution 3D images, an increased range
of motion for the surgeon, and a more ergonomic workstation console.
"HeroSurg will assist surgeons to perform demanding surgical procedures
with comfort, accuracy and safety by providing real-time collision avoidance
for medical instruments, and stereo-endoscopic vision," Dalvand said.
IISRI Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi said HeroSurg could be used
remotely, with the surgeon potentially thousands of kilometres away from the