Touchy-feely robot for urology surgery

Bristol urologists are involved in developing a sophisticated robotic surgical system that allows surgeons to ‘feel’ the tissues and organs inside the body, just like they do during conventional surgery.

A wearable exoskeleton on the surgeon’s hand enables movement that is more intuitive as well as giving the surgeon the sense of touch. In addition, the researchers are developing smart glasses that provide a realistic view of what is taking place inside the body during surgery. The smart glasses, will allow surgeons to position themselves anywhere in the operating theatre.

Professor Sanja Dogramadzi, from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, says: ‘The exoskeleton records the position of the fingers and communicates this to the robotic tools inside the body using tele-operated technology. We want to give existing processes a more natural interface – operating surgeons will not have to do any unusual or unnatural movement. They will be able to use their hands as they would in open surgery. This also means that training to use the robotic technology for surgery will be quicker.’

Mr Anthony Koupparis, Consultant Urologist at Bristol Urological Institute, says, ‘This research is an important step into the future with the potential to help many more patients across the UK, while reducing the cost burden on healthcare systems.’

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