Goldberg and da Vinci Robot in Wired

06 Mar, 2018

Goldberg and da Vinci Robot in Wired

Ken Goldberg and his team's work on the da Vinci robot was featured in "How Flight Simulation Tech Can Help Turn Robots into Surgeons" in Wired. The article, by Matt Simon, considers the future of surgical robots.

From the article:

"A subtle challenge of operating on humans is that their lungs keep breathing and their hearts keep beating—that is, if the surgeon is doing their job right. When the chest heaves or blood pumps, the surgeon has to compensate for that movement. This new robot mimics that movement. It’s a kind of a Stewart platform ... for this study, the researchers took the concept and shrunk it down to a 6-inch-wide device, opting for servo motors instead of pneumatic power.

"Researchers first had a human practice cutting on it in a straight line with the da Vinci surgery robot... 'he would wait for the platform to return to a certain position and then do something really quickly, and then wait again.' Meaning, instead of constantly cutting, the surgeon waited for the machine to reach a lull, then cut.

"Surgery robots won’t just have to worry about the body’s natural motions, either. Breathing lungs and beating hearts produce relatively consistent motions compared to, say, a nurse bumping the patient while the robot is working. That’s a particularly pressing problem because these robots wouldn’t be designed to replace surgeons, but to work alongside them. 'I don't think we'll ever replace surgeons,' says UC Berkeley roboticist Ken Goldberg, who helped develop the new system. 'I don't want to overstate this at all, but I think it's a step toward being able to do more subtasks in more realistic settings.'

Read the rest of the article here.