In The i-Robot: A new approach to robotics to make our life easier and safer, Part 1 of this blog series I introduced the utilization of the electronics technology in robotics to realize that robots can be programmed to help humans to have a more healthy life. A good example of this concept is a medical robot that is utilized by helping a doctor during a surgery. It is the case of the da Vinci Surgical System (see Figure 1) that has been cited among the works of the ICRA 2016, the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, which has been held in Stockholm from 16th to 21st May 2016:
“Robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (RMIS) was used for over 570,000 abdominal and pelvic procedures worldwide in 2014, and for approximately 2 million procedures since commercial products were launched in 2000. The da Vinci Surgical System is the most prominent commercially available robot for abdominal and pelvic surgery in the world, but even wider proliferation of RMIS is expected in the coming decade as many companies launch new platforms. We recently counted 14 new RMIS systems that have been launched as products or announced as being under development. RMIS offers advantages over traditional manual minimally invasive surgery by increasing dexterity, allowing motion and force scaling, and providing an unprecedented opportunity to collect data to understand and impact how a surgery is performed. However, significant concerns remain regarding the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of RMIS systems -- and new design, control methods, and applications need to be identified by the robotics community.” (Source Stanford educational)
The da Vinci Surgical system robot is developed by Intuitive Surgical Inc. (see Figure 2) and the electronics technology could be a very powerful solution when applied to the robotics because it offers the possibility to realize high precision surgeries with a robot offering a greater range of motion than the human hand:
“The system has technical features which significantly augment the quality and control of the visual field and thus enhance the dexterity of the surgeon. It delivers a high quality three dimensional (3-D) vision to the surgeon manning the console. This technology allows intuitive telemanipulation with tremor abolition, motion scaling and endo-wristed instruments. This is essentially what gives this technology an edge over the endoscopic technology which has been prevailing over the last two decades and overcomes some of the pitfalls of conventional laparoscopy which have probably limited the capabilities of the surgeon in the field of minimally invasive surgery” (Source: NCBI)
A possible way to realize the medical robot consists in driving a motor by integrating into a system on board, using many smart ICs like microcontrollers that manage the data coming from the motion sensors and drive the motion actuators accordingly. The IC setup might also include some PWM controllers, to drive power switches for effective power conversion, like the case of the IRMCF143S (see Figure 3):
The application block diagram using IRMCF143S for motor control (Source IR)
Robotics science is enhanced by electronics technology to realize a medical robot with a large range of functionalities and unprecedented precision and effectiveness. That’s a very interesting aspect of the i-Robot approach: Do you think that it will effectively make surgery practice less invasive and more reliable?