Micro-Robotics for Surgery

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Institute for Global Health

Abstract

As minimally invasive surgery is being adopted in a wide range of surgical specialties, there is a growing trend in precision surgery, focussing on early malignancies with minimally invasive intervention and greater consideration on patient recovery and quality of life. This requires the development of sophisticated micro-instruments integrated with imaging, sensing, and robotic assistance for micro-surgical tasks. This facilitates management of increasingly small lesions in more remote locations with complex anatomical surroundings. The proposed programme grant seeks to harness different strands of engineering and clinical developments in micro-robotics for precision surgery to establish platform technologies in: 1) micro-fabrication and actuation; 2) micro-manipulation and cooperative robotic control; 3) in vivo microscopic imaging and sensing; 4) intra-operative vision and navigation; and 5) endoluminal platform development. By using endoluminal micro-surgical intervention for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, lung and breast cancer as the exemplars, we aim to establish a strong technological platform with extensive industrial and wider academic collaboration to support seamless translational research and surgical innovation that are unique internationally.

Planned Impact

The project addresses effective healthcare impact partnership for device design and innovation. It will catalyse cross fertilisation of the academic disciplines involved with tangible contributions to knowledge transfer and potential clinical impact.

Impacts on Knowledge and Economy
The proposed project addresses an important clinical challenge in precision medicine with well-recognised social-economic values. Knowledge transfer and clinical translation with tangible healthcare outcomes would be an important focus of the project. It is expected that the technologies developed could have significant commercial impact on medical robotics. In addition to publications in respected academic journals and conferences, IPR will be reviewed at each milestone stage and any intellectual property arising will be protected and exploited via Imperial Innovations and in coordination with recommendations from the RSG (Research Steering Group) and EPSRC guidelines. The RSG will also provide critical review and management/technical recommendations to the team, and establish effective dissemination routes to academic and industrial communities. We will work with all stakeholders to identify potential opportunities for public dissemination and commercial exploitation throughout the duration of the project.

Impacts on People
The research staff of this project, particularly those early career researchers, will be encouraged to spearhead and take ownership of blue-sky idea generation with direct clinical interaction. The programme grant will significantly expand the capacity of the research team and create a unique environment involving both engineering and clinical researchers to work in an integrated research environment seamlessly linking different strands of research challenges. By leveraging the flexibility of funding provided by the programme grant, we will empower early career researchers to stimulate creative and adventurous research to ensure the research programme stays at the cutting edge of medical robotics internationally. Secondment to industrial collaborators and clinical partners will be arranged and staff will be encouraged to attend personal and career development workshops and courses provided by the Learning and Development Centre of Imperial College to develop the necessary managerial, vocational and entrepreneurial skills for career progression.

Impacts on Health
The project addresses some of the major issues in healthcare. It tackles the important issue of increased accuracy for cancer detection and direct therapeutic targeting of appropriate pathology. Through the clinical collaborators and industrial partners, the technologies developed will be introduced to patients and clinical communities throughout the development cycle. In partnership with Imperial IGHI's Centre for Health Policy, cost-effectiveness analysis will be conducted to demonstrate cost effectiveness of the technologies to the NHS.

Communications, Engagement and Society
The project team will actively seek opportunities to showcase the project outcomes in public engagement events, such as Imperial Festival, Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, and organising international workshops and conferences, including our flagship event of Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics, as well as the International Challenge on Surgical Robotics. In addition, the project will work with the UK-RAS Network for broader engagement of the research community and general public. We will work closely with Imperial's IGHI media team to use public lectures/exhibitions to maximise the potential impact of the project and its public engagement to ensure interaction with and exposure of our work to school children, who may wish to pursue a career in robotics.
 
Description A custom fibre draw tower was constructed by the team for multi-material fibre production. This has enabled the creation of advanced prototype fibres for medical robotics. A steerable catheter has been developed that will enable dexterous movement within the surgical workspace. The i2snake has been advanced to remove motors from the shaft of the robot, replacing them with narrow bore tendons that enable the diameter of the robot to be reduced whilst increasing its manoeuvrability and increasing force transmission.


Update 2019:
Fibre tower was further developed to create helical channels in the fibre which overcomes some of the challenges of tendon driven catheters. 3D printing technology was introduced to improve preform fabrication of various materials (including smart materials) and geometries to draw fibre robots from. 2 patents filed along these developments. Removal of material by laser ablation was utilized to create patterns on fibres making the fibre very flexible to be steered by tendons, and the process resulted in another patent application.

The i2snake which forms the proximal part of our nested robot is further advanced resulting in 2 different versions with different dimensions (length and radius), dexterity and degrees of freedom targeting different applications in surgery.

A wet transfer process our team developed allows very thin sensors (such as pressure sensors or biosensors) and other thin structures built externally to be transferred with micron precision onto fibres adding these functionalities to the fibres without much increase in thickness.
Sensors on a single layer graphene inside which is embedded inside a 3D printed micro-cage with ability to trap the bacteria are manufactured to enhance capacity of our sensors.

A probe based Confocal Laser Endomicroscope (pCLE) our team advanced allows getting microscope like images from the end face of bundles of fibres in higher speed, higher resolution and at different colours allowing to see different morphologies simultaneously.

On a micro scale, a piston is created that can be moved in the order of tens of microns (fraction of the thickness of a hair) and such controlled motion will be utilized in active micro-grippers.

The team has developed the building blocks of the fibre robot mentioned above and is working on integration of these blocks towards a steerable fibre robot that will have improved sensing and imaging capacity compared to current state of art to reach and interrogate distal ends of lumens of the body.


Update 2020:

Our team developed a new protocol for simple, effective and reliable fabrication of miniature fibre-optic SERS probes, aiming to aid the diagnosis of lung infections in the near future. The probes use a technique called Raman spectroscopy and are thin enough to be inserted into the body through endoscopes, catheters or needles. This approach is based on a microscale 3D-printing technique known as two-photon polymerisation (2PP), which is commercially available (Nanoscribe GmbH, Germany).

A fabrication of biodegradable hydrogel and/or biopolymer materials for 3D printing of fibres has been developed for the creation of a new paradigm in fibrebots and fibre-based medical devices. These fibre devices may be used for the next generation of neuro-regeneration and also as injectable (injected/delivered from the end of a fibre bot) cylindrical fibre-based stents that unfold to reopen/repair damaged or collapsing alveoli/airways located at the small far distal branches of the lung.

In order to overcome the complexity of anatomical pathways and the limited dexterity of existing instruments in the endoscopic minimally invasive surgery, our research team designed articulated endoscopic instruments for possible interventions of endobronchial interventions and/or interventional bronchoscopy. A new robotic platform was proposed: the Intuitive imaging sensing navigated and kinematically enhanced (i2Snake) robot that aims to improve the field of endoscopic surgery. The proposed robotic platform includes a snake-like robotic endoscope equipped with a camera, a light-source and two robotic instruments, supported with a robotic arm for global positioning and for insertion of the i2Snake, and a master interface for master-slave teleoperation. The proposed robotic platform design focuses on ergonomics and intuitive control. The control workflow was first validated in simulation and then implemented on the robotic platform.

Our research team proposed a ''robust'' method for learning the mapping which is able to discard possible outliers in the dataset (outlier detection and rejection for input/output mapping in regression problems) in order to overcome the misinterpreted models, resulting from the current defective outliers of the sensor measurements.

The team developed a type of magnetic robots that coated with a thin layer of Nickel and Titanium make them magnetic responsive and at the same time biocompatible the requirements by which they can be manoeuvred through to body after insertion. The tethered microrobots/microactuators are to be fabricated from the same 2PP photoresists so the actuation can be controlled by magnetism, light or chemical gradients.

By using electrochemistry, optics and micro fluidic based biopsy, our team aims to realise a fibre-based sensor for biomarker detection to assist and accelerate diagnosis of lung disease during bronchoscopy procedures.

Our research team proposed an adapted graph convolutional network (GCN) to predict 3-D partially deployed marker references from 3-D fully deployed marker references, in order to improve the efficiency of the operations and reduce the risks of radiation exposure in fenestrated endovascular aortic repair (FEVAR). The coarsening layers of the original GCN are removed and the softmax function at the network end is replaced with linear mapping for regression. The derived 3-D marker references and the 2-D marker positions are used to instantiate the partially deployed stent segment, combined with the previous 3-D shape instantiation framework.

As robot-assisted endobronchial intervention requires accurate localisation based on both intra- and pre-operative data, our research team formulated the bronchoscopic localisation as a learning-based global localisation using deep neural networks. The proposed network consists of two generative architectures and one auxiliary learning component. The cycle generative architecture bridges the domain variance between the real bronchoscopic videos and virtual views derived from pre-operative CT data so that the proposed approach can be trained through a large number of generated virtual images but deployed through real images. The auxiliary learning architecture leverages complementary relative pose regression to constrain the search space, ensuring consistent global pose predictions. Most importantly, the uncertainty of each global pose is obtained through variational inference by sampling within the learned underlying probability distribution. Detailed validation results demonstrate the localization accuracy with reasonable uncertainty achieved and its potential clinical value.
Exploitation Route This project has the potential to bring many innovations to surgical robotics as it is taking a new approach of developing advanced fibres with integrated actuation, sensing and imaging capabilities. These platform technologies will be applicable to many domains throughout robotics and surgery.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Education,Electronics,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Other

 
Title A 3-D Printed Metallic Flexible Joint for Snake-Like Surgical Robot 
Description Snake-like robots have numerous applications in minimally invasive surgery. One important research topic of snake-like robots is the flexible joint mechanism and its actuation. Our research team designed and fabricated a new type of flexible joint mechanism that is enabled by metal powder bed additive manufacturing technique. Kinematics and static models of the flexible joint are presented, which can help in designing and controlling the flexible joint. As a compliant mechanism, the fatigue characteristics of the flexible joint is investigated. Finite element analysis (FEA) is performed aiming for optimizing the design process. This research tool/method was developed by Dr Yang Hu, Dr Lin Zhang, Wei Li and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact In the experiment section, model estimation, FEA, and experimental validation are conducted for further understanding the characteristics of the flexible joint. An example design that can survive after 100 000 full loading cycles is demonstrated. In addition, different design variations of the proposed method and a multi-section flexible endoscope using the proposed design are introduced. The proposed flexible joint has the potential not only in reducing the cost of manufacturing and assembling a snake-like surgical robot, but also benefits for developing of more sophisticated three-dimensional snake robotic structure that has an optimized space for embedded sensing and actuation. 
 
Title A Flexible Suturing Robot for Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery 
Description Suturing and knot tying in a confined space is a technically challenging yet clinically demanding task in minimally invasive surgery, which requires the use of highly articulated instruments passing through small incisions on the patient's body. Manually operating such instruments is usually very difficult, so robot-assisted methods have been introduced to reduce the burden of the surgeon. Our team proposed a robotic suturing system for simplifying suturing in a confined space. The main part of the suturing robot is a 6-mm flexible suturing instrument that consists of suturing probe and a customized flexible joint. A novel needle driving and locking mechanism have been proposed. For controlling the suturing robot with teleoperation, the kinematics of the robot and its differential Jacobian as well as inverse kinematics are provided. A working prototype of the suturing instrument is built and integrated into a teleoperated suturing system. Running stitch and knot tying experiments have been conducted to evaluate the robot's feasibility for suturing in a confined space, which mimics the transanal endoscopic microsurgery procedure. This research method/tool was developed by Dr Yang Hu, Wei Li, Dr Lin Zhang and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The most important part of this suturing robotic system for single-port TEMS is a flexible suturing instrument which consists of a needle switching probe and 2-DoF flexible joint. A novel needle driving and locking mechanism have been proposed. For controlling the suturing robot with teleoperation, the kinematics of the robot and its differential Jacobian as well as inverse kinematics are provided. A working prototype of the suturing instrument has been built and integrated into a teleoperated suturing system. Running stitch and knot tying experiments have been conducted to test the suturing robot's feasibility for suturing in a confined space which mimics the TEMS environment. The running stitch experiment shows that the suturing instrument can stitch in a faster and repetitive manner in various suturing orientations. 
 
Title A Graded and Preference Based Bayesian Approach for Gaze-Assisted Adaptive Motion Scaling Optimization 
Description A key component to the success of master-slave surgical systems is the quality of the master interface used to relay the surgeon's instructions to the slave robot. In previous work, our research team developed a gaze-assisted intention recognition scheme, allowing the system to dynamically adapt the motion scaling based on where the user is trying to reach. This allowed users to perform tasks significantly more quickly and with less need for clutching. However, the system possessed a number of core parameters that were manually optimized, potentially providing a non-optimal solution depending on the user. Our research team presented a Bayesian approach to the problem of optimizing a human-robot interface in a user-specific manner. Two Bayesian optimization methods are studied: one in which users are asked to grade robot behavior for a given set of parameters, and one where only preference relative to other parameter sets is expressed. This research method was proposed by Dr Gauthier Gras, Dr Carlo Seneci, Dr Petros Giataganas and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The performance of these optimizations is evaluated in a blind comparison user study, demonstrating that the optimized parameters are preferred to the manually optimized ones in over 90 % of cases after only 12 test samples. These parameters are further shown to perform at least as well as the manually optimized ones in all cases, and showing statistically significant improvement in the case of the graded optimization. 
 
Title A NFC-Powered Flexible Chest Patch 
Description A battery-less and flexible device to be worn as a chest patch for monitoring cardiac and hemodynamic parameters through electrical and acoustic measurements, combined with sweat pH level estimation and skin temperature, by swiping a smartphone over the patch area for enough time (?5 seconds) to allow adequate acquisition and estimation of the aforementioned parameters. This research tool was developed by Dr Bruno Miguel Gil Rosa, Dr Salzitsa Anastasova-Ivanova, Professor Guang Zhong Yang. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Fast screening of vital signals from patients in ambulatory or emergency scenarios can thus be achieved by this Near Field Communication (NFC) powered device, as well as home or office monitoring for those individuals suffering from diseases affecting the hemodynamic, cardiac and endocrine parameters detected by the proposed technology. 
 
Title A Novel Approach for Outlier Detection and Robust Sensory Data Model Learning 
Description In the past few decades machine learning and data analysis have been having a huge growth and they have been applied in many different problems in the field of robotics. Data are usually the result of sensor measurements and, as such, they might be subjected to noise and outliers. The presence of outliers has a huge impact on modelling the acquired data, resulting in inappropriate models. Our research team proposed a novel approach for outlier detection and rejection for input/output mapping in regression problems is presented. The robustness of the method is shown both through simulated data for linear and nonlinear regression, and real sensory data. This research method was developed by Francesco Cursi and professor Guang-Zhong Yang. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The algorithm takes inspiration from online learning and it allows to deal with outliers, and, thus, to have a more robust model learning. The performances of the method have been tested on simulated data for a linear and nonlinear mapping in case of one-dimensional input and one-dimensional output problem. 
 
Title A Reliable Label-Efficient Learning Framework for Biomedical Image Recognition 
Description The use of deep neural networks for biomedical image analysis requires a sufficient number of labeled datasets. To acquire accurate labels as the gold standard, multiple observers with specific expertise are required for both annotation and proofreading. This process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, making high-quality, and large-annotated biomedical datasets difficult. Our research team proposed a deep active learning framework that enables the active selection of both informative queries and reliable experts. To measure the uncertainty of the unlabeled data, a dropout-based strategy is integrated with a similarity criterion for both data selection and random error elimination. To select the reliable labelers, we adopt an expertise estimator to learn the expertise levels of labelers via offline-testing and online consistency evaluation. The proposed method is applied to classification tasks on two types of medical images including confocal endomicroscopy images and gastrointestinal endoscopic images. The annotations are acquired from multiple labelers with diverse levels of expertise. This research method was proposed by Dr Mali Shen and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The experiments demonstrate the efficiency and promising performance of the proposed method compared to a set of baseline methods. Compared to previous work on active learning for medical data, both random errors and expertise errors have been taken into consideration. Our experiments on two medical image analysis tasks demonstrate that the expertise estimator can effectively identify the specific knowledge of each labeler and the similarity-based dropout measurement enables active selection of informative data as well as the elimination of random errors. The clinical significance of the work is that we have developed a systematic yet practical framework for dealing with labeling of ground truth training data for deep learning techniques. The method caters for different levels of expertise, labeling consistency, and random variations. These are important factors to consider for practical applications of CAD as most existing methods tend to treat manually labeled data as the ultimate ground-truth, which of course, is not true. The method allows the selection of both informative queries and reliable experts via offline-testing and online consistency evaluation, thus allowing annotations to be acquired from multiple labellers with different levels of expertise and improving the learning of CAD systems with noisy labels. 
 
Title A carbon-nanotube-coated 3D microspring force sensor 
Description Flexible electronic materials combined with micro-3D fabrication present new opportunities for wearable biosensors and medical devices. A novel carbon-nanotube-coated force sensor is developed by our research team. The device employs carbon-nanotube-coated microsprings with varying configurations and geometries for real-time force sensing. This research method was developed by Dr Bing Li, Dr Bruno Gil, Dr Maura Power, Dr Anzhu Gao, Dr Shen Treratanakulchai, Dr Salzitsa Anastasova and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This development successfully combined the advantages of flexible conductive nanomaterials and the versatility of two photon polymerization technologies for creating functional 3D microstructures. To demonstrate its practical value, the device has first been embodied as a patch sensor for transcutaneous monitoring of human arterial pulses, followed by the development of a multiple-point force-sensitive catheter for real-time noninvasive intraluminal intervention. The results illustrate the potential of leveraging advanced nanomaterials and micro-3D-printing for developing new medical devices. 
 
Title A dual-wavelength line-scan confocal endomicroscopy system for rapid molecular imaging 
Description Fiber-bundle based confocal laser endomicroscopy combined with fluorescent biomarkers has shown promise for high-resolution imaging of tissue microstructure in vivo and in situ. However, limited image acquisition speed and a restriction to single fluorescence agents (due to single channel excitation and fluorescence collection spectral bands) for most existing systems makes simultaneous visualization of multiple morphological and functional features difficult. Our research team proposed a high-speed dual-wavelength line-scan confocal laser endomicroscopy system suitable for multiplexed molecular imaging applications using 488 nm and 660 nm laser sources. The fluorescent confocal images are captured by a rolling-shutter CMOS camera at a constant frame rate of 120 Hz, with the rolling shutter of the CMOS camera acting as a virtual detector slit. Dual-wavelength imaging is achieved by switching between the laser sources for alternate frames, avoiding bleed-through, and providing an effective frame rate of 60 Hz. This research tool/method was developed by Dr Khushi Vyas, Dr Michael Hughes and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The two channels are pseudo-coloured and combined, and large area dual-wavelength mosaics are created by registering and stitching the image frames as the probe moves across the tissue. Preliminary images with a resolution of 1.2 µm are presented from fluorescently stained phantoms and ex vivo tissue, demonstrating the clinical feasibility of the technique. 
 
Title A flexible/stretchable multiparametric sensing device realized via a commercial process 
Description A novel flexible/stretchable device realized via a commercial process. this device is comprised of horseshoe interconnects, electrochemical sensor electrode arrays, a heater for thermotherapy/thermo-regulation, a temperature sensor, electrodes for recording/applying signals to tissues and a bioimpedance sensor. This research method was developed by Dr Panagiotis Kassanos, Dr Florent Seichepine, Dr Dominic Wales and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Electrochemical deposition and characterization of platinum black to the bioimpedance sensor and gold and subsequently IrOx for pH sensing to other electrodes, characterization of the temperature and bioimpedance sensors and heater are presented. 
 
Title A hybrid marker design combining circular dots and chessboard vertices for facilitating tracking cylindrical tools 
Description To provide an integrated visualisation of intraoperative ultrasound and endoscopic images to facilitate intraoperative guidance, real-time tracking of the ultrasound probe is required. State-of-the-art methods are suitable for planar targets while most of the laparoscopic ultrasound probes are cylindrical objects. A tracking framework for cylindrical objects with a large work space will improve the usability of the intraoperative ultrasound guidance. A hybrid marker design that combines circular dots and chessboard vertices is proposed for facilitating tracking cylindrical tools. The circular dots placed over the curved surface are used for pose estimation. The chessboard vertices are employed to provide additional information for resolving the ambiguous pose problem due to the use of planar model points under a monocular camera. Furthermore, temporal information between consecutive images is considered to minimise tracking failures with real-time computational performance. This research tool/method was developed by Dr Lin Zhang, Dr Menglong Ye, Dr Po-Ling Chan and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Detailed validation confirms that our hybrid marker provides a large working space for different tool sizes (6-14 mm in diameter). The tracking framework allows translational movements between 40 and 185 mm along the depth direction and rotational motion around three local orthogonal axes up to ±80°. Comparative studies with the current state of the art confirm that our approach outperforms existing methods by providing nearly 100% detection rates and accurate pose estimation with mean errors of 2.8 mm and 0.72°. The tracking algorithm runs at 20 frames per second for 960×540 image resolution videos. 
 
Title A laser-profiled continuum manipulator for the guidance of bronchoscopic instruments 
Description Bronchoscopic intervention, as a minimally invasive method for the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases, has attracted more and more attention in recent years. However, existing endobronchial instruments lack the steerability accessing the peripheral airways with difficult bifurcations. Our research team proposed a novel wire-driven dexterous manipulator for the guidance of such instruments. Precision laser profiling is used to cut a stainless steel tube into multiple interlocked segments with revolute joints. The outer diameter of the manipulator is 2.20 mm which is small enough to be inserted into the working channels of most commercial bronchoscopes and distal airways, while keeping a large inner lumen with a diameter of 1.44 mm for passing various bronchoscopic instruments. The small bending radius provides enough flexibility to navigate inside the complex bronchial tree. Two kinematic models are proposed to predict the manipulator configuration from the translation of actuation wires. The former model is geometrically derived with the assumption of constant curvature bending and the latter one is statistically driven by capturing the motion trajectories of manipulator joints. This research method/tool was developed by Dr Ning Liu, Mohamed Abdelaziz, Dr Mali Shen and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A prototype of our low-cost add-on instrument guidance robot for bronchoscopic intervention is presented which can be easily integrated into current clinical routine. 
 
Title A metal-oxide surface-enhanced Raman biosensor template for point-of-care EGFR detection and cancer diagnostics 
Description Metal-oxide-based SERS represents a new frontier in the field of biosensing. While the implementation of semiconductor materials such as TiO2 as a SERS template would enormously widen the range of use for this technique due to its biocompatibility, the detection sensitivity is still seriously impeded by inferior SERS enhancement. Consequently, the application of TiO2 for molecular biosensing has been greatly hampered. Our research team introduced a novel concept of concurrently inducing atomic-level defects (OVs), as well as self-assembled quantum scale structures for the realization of an ultra-high sensitivity noble metal-free SERS template for biomolecular detection. Multiphoton ionization used for the fabrication of the Q-structured TiOx provided the advantage of tuning the nano-structuring of the material and the particle dimensions in the quantum scale and at the same time inducing the OVs as atomic-level defects. Our researchers demonstrated the incorporation of oxygen vacancies as a strategy to significantly increase the SERS enhancement of Q-structured TiO2. This research method was proposed by Dr Meysam Keshavarz and Dr Panagiotis Kassanos external collaborators: Dr Bo Tan and Dr Krishnan Venkatakrishnan 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The synthesis of the Q-structured TiOx demonstrated a limit of detection of 1 nM and an EF of 3.4 × 107 with the CV dye at the 785 nm excitation wavelength. In addition, the sensitivity of the Q-structured TiOx was examined using 3 different cell lines: fibroblast, HeLa and breast cancer cells. The biomolecular signatures of the intracellular compounds were unveiled after culturing the cells on the Q-structured TiOx for 12 hours which lead to identification of EGFR peptide on the breast cells and a higher lipid content when compared to fibroblasts. Similarly, spectra collected from HeLa cells demonstrated distinct features when compared to fibroblasts, but more work is necessary to evaluate the capabilities of the proposed SERS template in cervical cancer diagnostics. 
 
Title A micro-scale fiber-optic force sensor produced using direct laser writing (DLW) 
Description Fiber-optic sensors have numerous existing and emerging applications spanning areas from industrial process monitoring to medical diagnosis. Two of the most common fiber sensors are based on the fabrication of Bragg gratings or Fabry-Perot etalons. While these techniques offer a large array of sensing targets, their utility can be limited by the difficulties involved in fabricating forward viewing probes (Bragg gratings) and in obtaining sufficient signal-to-noise ratios (Fabry-Perot systems). Our research team presented a micro-scale fiber-optic force sensor produced using direct laser writing (DLW). The fabrication entails a single-step process that can be undertaken in a reliable and repeatable manner using a commercial DLW system. The sensor is made of a series of thin plates (i.e. Fabry-Perot etalons), which are supported by springs that compress under an applied force. At the proximal end of the fiber, the interferometric changes that are induced as the sensor is compressed are read out using reflectance spectroscopy, and the resulting spectral changes are calibrated with respect to applied force. This calibration is performed using either singular value decomposition (SVD) followed by linear regression or artificial neural networks. We describe the design and optimization of this device, with a particular focus on the data analysis required for calibration. This research method was developed by Dr Alex Thompson, Dr Maura Power, and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The force sensing capability is based on the use of reflectance spectroscopy to readout interferometric changes induced as the force sensor is compressed. To extract force measurements from the complex spectral data, we used both SVD-regression analysis and artificial neural networks, obtaining reliable and accurate force prediction in both cases. In some scenarios we observed errors in the optical force prediction, and the most serious of these discrepancies were attributed to differences between the calibration and test data that were not sufficiently detected or accounted for in the training algorithm. In conclusion, we demonstrate proof-of-concept force sensing over the range 0-50 µN, with a measurement error of approximately 1.5 µN. Overall, this work demonstrates the feasibility of the use of DLW for the fabrication of micro-scale dynamic structures for fiber-based sensing. Importantly, this involves a simple and repeatable fabrication protocol that allows for the production of forward viewing probes. 
 
Title A novel approach for stress condition monitoring using disposable flexible sensors 
Description By integrating flexible amplifiers with a commercially available flexible polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) mechanical deformation sensor and a pH-type chemical sensor, this proposed system proposed by our research team can detect arterial pulses from the neck and pH levels from sweat located in the back of the body. The system uses organic thin film transistor (OTFT)-based signal amplification front-end circuits with modifications to accommodate the dynamic signal ranges obtained from the sensors. The OTFTs were manufactured on a low-cost flexible polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) substrate using a coater capable of Roll-to-Roll (R2R) deposition. This research tool/method was developed by Dr Salzitsa Anastasova, Dr Bruno Gil Rosa, Dr Benny Lo and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This proposed system can capture physiological indicators and data be interrogated by Near Field Communication (NFC) and has been validated with healthy subjects, demonstrating its application for real-time stress monitoring. 
 
Title A transfer recurrent feature learning framework for endomicroscopy image recognition 
Description Probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (pCLE) is an emerging tool for epithelial cancer diagnosis, which enables in-vivo microscopic imaging during endoscopic procedures and facilitates the development of automatic recognition algorithms to identify the status of tissues. Our research team proposed a transfer recurrent feature learning framework for classification tasks on pCLE videos. At the first stage, the discriminative feature of single pCLE frame was learned via generative adversarial networks based on both pCLE and histology modalities. At the second stage, our researchers used recurrent neural networks to handle the varying length and irregular shape of pCLE mosaics taking the frame-based features as input. This research method was developed by Yun Gu, Dr Khushi Vyas and Professor Guang-zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The experiments on real pCLE data sets demonstrated that our approach outperforms, with statistical significance, state-of-the-art approaches. A binary classification accuracy of 84.1% has been achieved. 
 
Title An Intraoperative Robotic Device for Large-Area High-Speed Microscopic Imaging and Intervention 
Description Probe-based confocal endomicroscopy is an emerging high-magnification optical imaging technique that provides in vivo and in situ cellular-level imaging for real-time assessment of tissue pathology. Endomicroscopy could potentially be used for intraoperative surgical guidance, but it is challenging to assess a surgical site using individual microscopic images due to the limited field-of-view and difficulties associated with manually manipulating the probe. Our research team presented a novel robotic device for large-area endomicroscopy imaging is proposed, demonstrating a rapid, but highly accurate, scanning mechanism with image-based motion control, which is able to generate histology-like endomicroscopy mosaics. The device also includes, for the first time in robotic-assisted endomicroscopy, the capability to ablate tissue without the need for an additional tool. This research tool/method was developed by Dr Petros Giataganas, Dr Michael Hughes, Dr Christopher Payne, Dr Piyamate Wisanuvej, Dr Burak Temelkuran and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The device achieves preprogrammed trajectories with positioning accuracy of less than 30 µm, while the image-based approach demonstrated that it can suppress random motion disturbances up to 1.25 mm s -1 . Mosaics are presented from a range of ex vivo human and animal tissues, over areas of more than 3 mm 2 , scanned in approximate 10 s. Conclusion: This paper demonstrates the potential of the proposed instrument to generate large-area, high-resolution microscopic images for intraoperative tissue identification and margin assessment. Significance: This approach presents an important alternative to current histology techniques, significantly reducing the tissue assessment time, while simultaneously providing the capability to mark and ablate suspicious areas intraoperatively. 
 
Title An image retrieval framework for real-time endoscopic image retargeting 
Description Serial endoscopic examinations of a patient are important for early diagnosis of malignancies in the gastrointestinal tract. However, retargeting for optical biopsy is challenging due to extensive tissue variations between examinations, requiring the method to be tolerant to these changes whilst enabling real-time retargeting. Our research team presented an image retrieval framework for inter-examination retargeting. We propose both a novel image descriptor tolerant of long-term tissue changes and a novel descriptor matching method in real time. The descriptor is based on histograms generated from regional intensity comparisons over multiple scales, offering stability over long-term appearance changes at the higher levels, whilst remaining discriminative at the lower levels. The matching method then learns a hashing function using random forests, to compress the string and allow for fast image comparison by a simple Hamming distance metric. This research method was developed by Dr Menglong Ye and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A dataset that contains 13 in vivo gastrointestinal videos was collected from six patients, representing serial examinations of each patient, which includes videos captured with significant time intervals. Precision-recall for retargeting shows that our new descriptor outperforms a number of alternative descriptors, whilst our hashing method outperforms a number of alternative hashing approaches. Real-time performance also allows for practical integration without disturbing the existing clinical workflow. 
 
Title An optimization framework of a contact-aided continuum robot for endobronchial interventions 
Description A laser-profiled continuum robot (CR) with a series of interlocking joints has been developed in our centre to reach deeper areas of the airways. However, it deflects with constant curvature, which thus increases the difficulty of entering specific bronchi without relying on the tissue reaction forces. Our research team proposed an optimization framework to find the best design parameters for non-constant curvature CRs to reach distal targets while attempting to avoid the collision with the surrounding tissue. Methods: First, the contact-aided compliant mechanisms (CCMs) are integrated with the continuum robot to achieve the non-constant curvature. Second, forward kinematics considering CCMs is built. Third, inverse kinematics is implemented to steer the robot tip toward the desired targets within the confined anatomy. Finally, an optimization framework is proposed to find the best robot design to reach the target with the least collision to the bronchi walls. This research method was proposed by Dr Laura Ros-Freixedes, Dr Anzhu Gao, Dr Ning Liu, Dr Mali Shen and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Experiments are carried out to verify the feasibility of CCMs to enable the nonconstant curvature deflection, and simulations demonstrate a lower cost function value to reach a target for the non-constant curvature optimized design with respect to the standard constant curvature robot (0.11 vs. 2.66). In addition, the higher capacity of the optimized design to complete the task is validated by interventional experiments using fluoroscopy. The results of the verification experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework to find an optimized CR with nonconstant curvature to perform safer interventions to reach distal targets. 
 
Title Bacteria cage 
Description A cage 3D printed by nanoscribe technology able to trap and accumulate bacteria. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A cage structure enhancing biosensing for the detection of bacteria such as motile bacteria. 
 
Title Controlled drug delivery and sensing 
Description We are developing a system with controllable local drug delivery and sampling combining multimaterial fibres, microfluidics, sensor technologies. Researchers with significant contribution: Antoine Barbot, Salzitsa Anastasova, Haijie Tan, Mohamed Abdelaziz, Burak Temelkuran. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact New to have impact, potential use for minimally invasive biopsy and controlled drug delivery. 
 
Title Development of fibre-optic SERS probes using two-photon polymerisation for rapid in vivo detection of bacteria 
Description Sensing elements developed on planar substrates and the tip of an optical fibre are demonstrated for rapid bacteria detection. This research method is led by Dr Jang Ah Kim. Internal collaborators: Dr Dominic Wales and Dr Alex Thompson. 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This research can aid rapid in vivo infection diagnosis during minimally invasive interventions in the future to reduce time and cost burdens of diseases. A conference presentation/proceeding was out in 2019 and a journal article was published in 2020. 
 
Title Electronics tethered Microrobots 
Description Our team developed Electronics tethered Microrobots for tissue biopsy and for theranostic and regenerative application. The researchers first applied electronic patterning on tethered Micro-robots and designed two-level biphasic high voltage electroporation with simultaneous bioimpedance sensing. Following this, fibre integration of electroporation electrodes will be generated. This research tool is developed by Dr Panagiotis Kassanos, Dr Antoine Barbot and Dr Florent Seichepine 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The development of micro-manipulation and biopsy tools will be potential beneficial to fundamental biology study and micro-biopsy. The final goal is to fully integrate the tools into the continuum robot for the application of the micro-robotics surgery. 
 
Title Fibre based force sensing micro-gripper using Two Photon Polymerization printing 
Description 2-photon polymerization is used to produce a tethered, 3D, compliant grasper with integrated force sensing, the entirety of which is fabricated on the tip of an optical fiber. Optical interferometry combined with artificial neural networks facilitate real-time force estimation during manipulation tasks. Researchers contributed significantly to this project: Maura Power, Alex J. Thompson, Salzitsa Anastasova. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Such grippers could prove useful for the interrogation of biological microstructures such as alveoli, villi, or even individual cells. 
 
Title Fibre based probes with TPP 
Description Fibre-based Raman probe and optical tweezer are developed. Integration micro optics on tip of optical fibres (100 ~ 200 um dia.) built by two-photon polymerisation technique, as well as surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) structures printed. Researchers with significant contribution: Jang Ah Kim, Maura Power, Salzitsa Anastasova. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Minimally invasive in vivo diagnosis and precise manipulation of cells and drug particles. 
 
Title Fibre based sensing method for diagnostic 
Description By using electrochemistry, optics and micro fluidic based biopsy, our team aims to realise a fibre-based sensor for biomarker detection to assist and accelerate diagnosis of lung disease during bronchoscopy procedures. This method is developed by Dr Antoine Barbot, Dr Haijie Tan, Dr Panagiotis Kassanos, Dr Salzitsa Anastasova, Dr Florent Seichepine, Dr Burak Temelkuran and Mohamed Abdelaziz. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact One of the challenges clinicians currently face is not being able to determine exactly which kind of abnormality lungs patients have using conventional bronchoscopes, and conventional biopsy results can usually take up to weeks and even months to obtain. Developing a fibre-based sensing method and tool for rapid diagnostic would be beneficial to the clinical application and compliment conventional bronchoscopes, which lack of such sensing capability. 
 
Title Fibre preform fabrication using 3D printing technology 
Description Ability to use 3D printer to print preforms from which fibres will be drawn. Allows introduction of multiple materials and in ways that is not possible by other techniques especially in longitudinally asymmetric structures - patent filed. Researchers with significant contribution: Mohamed Abdelaziz, Burak Temelkuran 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Tapered fibres, fibres with active elements inherintly present at the tip of a fibre device. 
 
Title Floating magnetic microrobots for fiber functionalization 
Description Minimally invasive surgery is increasingly used to target small lesions. Therefore, there is a growing demand for miniaturised tools-such as microcatheters, articulated microforceps, or tweezers-that incorporate sensing and actuation for precision surgery. Although existing microfabrication techniques have addressed the construction of these devices, accurate integration and functionalization of chemical and physical sensors represent major challenges. A microrobotic platform for the functionalization of fibers of diameters from 140 to 830 micrometers, with a patterning precision of 5 micrometers and an orientation error below 0.4°. Our research team developed two 2 millimeter-by-3 millimeter, 200-micrometer-thick microrobots to align floating electronic circuits on a fiber during a wet transfer process. The position and orientation of the microrobots were controlled at the air/water interface by a permanent magnet. The stiffness of the position controlled was 0.2 newton millimeter, leading to an average force of 0.5 newton. The nonhomogeneous magnetic field of the magnet, associated with different preferred magnetization directions recorded in the microrobots, allowed the distance between the two microrobots to be precisely controlled. This research method was developed by Dr oine Barbot, Dr Haijie Tan, Dr Florent Seichepine and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This extra degree of freedom was used to control the microrobot pair as a tweezer to grab and release floating electronic patterns, whereas the others were used to align the pattern position and orientation with the fiber. A model of this control, as well as the microrobots' interaction through surface tension, is proposed. Detailed performance validation is provided, and various exemplar sensor embodiments on a 200-micrometer-diameter fiber and three-dimensional devices are demonstrated. 
 
Title Kinematic modelling for uIGES instrument 
Description Endoscopic procedures have transformed minimally invasive surgery as they allow the examination and intervention on a patient's anatomy through natural orifices, without the need for external incisions. However, the complexity of anatomical pathways and the limited dexterity of existing instruments, limit such procedures mainly to diagnosis and biopsies. In order to overcome these obstacles, our research team designed articulated endoscopic instruments for possible interventions of endobronchial interventions and/or interventional bronchoscopy. A new robotic platform was proposed: the Intuitive imaging sensing navigated and kinematically enhanced (i2Snake) robot that aims to improve the field of endoscopic surgery. The proposed robotic platform includes a snake-like robotic endoscope equipped with a camera, a light-source and two robotic instruments, supported with a robotic arm for global positioning and for insertion of the i2Snake, and a master interface for master-slave teleoperation. The proposed robotic platform design focuses on ergonomics and intuitive control. The control workflow was first validated in simulation and then implemented on the robotic platform. This tool was developed by Dr Pierre Berthet-Rayne, Dr Gauthier Gras, Dr Konrad Leibrandt, Dr Piyamate Wisanuvej, Andreas Schmitz, Dr Carlo Seneci and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The proposed system contributes to the field of endoscopic surgical robots and could allow to perform more complex endoscopic surgical procedures while reducing patient trauma and recovery time. 
 
Title Laser-Profiled Continuum Robot with Integrated Tension Sensing 
Description Our research team proposed the use of optical fibres for both actuation and tension/shape/force sensing. It uses a model-based method with structural compensation, allowing direct measurement of the cable tension near the base of the manipulator without increasing the dimensions. It further structurally filters out disturbances from the flexible shaft. In addition, a model is built by considering segment differences, cable interactions/cross talks, and external forces. This research tool/method was developed by Dr Anzhu Gao, Dr Ning Liu, Dr Mali Shen, Mohamed E.M.K. Abdelaziz, Dr Burak Temelkuran, and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The proposed model-based method can simultaneously estimate the shape of the manipulator and external force applied onto the robot tip. Detailed modelling and validation results demonstrate the accuracy and reliability of the proposed method for the miniaturized continuum robot for endoluminal intervention. 
 
Title Magnetic Microrobots for Stem Cell and Drug Delivery 
Description The microrobots are small enough to be injected through the blood stream and overcome the impediments of reaching these delicate organs. A cage-like structure of these microrobots coated with a thin layer of Nickel and Titanium make them magnetic responsive and at the same time bio-compatible the requirements by which they can be manoeuvred through to body after insertion. An electromagnetic field will be exploited to guide the microrobots through the body with extreme accuracy. Our preliminarily experiments demonstrated that these microrobots can be successfully loaded with cells and being used as a payload of primary cells to the predetermined target organs. The first generation of this magnetic robots have been successfully fabricated using the commercial photo-resist and been coated with Ti and Ni for magnetic response. On the next step, these microrobots were seeded with HeLa cells and were maneuvered by exploiting a magnetic field. Based on the preliminary results, a need for synthesizing a custom-made photo resist to fabricate these microrobots was determined - since the commercial photo resist has deficient biocompatibility and therefore it has to be coated with metallic deposition. The second generation of this magnetic robots focuses on biocompatibility and an alternative for metallic deposition. Therefore, polyethylene glycol (PEG) based polymer has been used to overcome the biocompatibility issue of the first generation, at the same time magnetic nanoparticles were added into the PEG-based resist to circumvent the need for metallic deposition that hinders the degradation of these microrobots. In the following years, the untethered microrobots will be exploited for targeted delivery of cargoes such as drugs, stem cells and/or other therapeutic agents and the tethered microrobots/microactuators will be used for tissue biopsy at end of the fibres. As for the actuation, the first generation of untethered microrobots is focused on magnetic responsive actuation. We are also developing photo and chemo responsive resists as well - the microrobots will be steered by photo- or chemical gradients. The tethered microrobots/microactuators are to be fabricated from the same 2PP photo-resists so the actuation can be controlled by magnetism, light or chemical gradients. This research method is led by: Dr Meysam Keshavarz Internal Collaborators: Dr Dominic J. Wales, Dr Antoine Barbot and Dr Jang-Ah Kim 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The microrobots designed in this project contains micro-porous that help holding cells, using magnetic fields, that can guided to an organ of interest in the body where cells will start proliferating and regenerating damaged tissues. The first generation of the microrobots are coated with thin layer of nickel and titanium deposition. The nickel allows manipulation of the microrobot using an external magnetic field, while the titanium increases the biocompatibility of the structure, reducing its cytotoxicity. Another notable impact of this project is that our researchers successfully integrated the magnetic nano-particles into the PEG-based resist as well as generated the fabrication of the microrobots. This integration has hampered the feasibility of using microrobots for cell delivery application. 
 
Title Micro-manipulation and biopsy tools (cutting tissue, isolating tissue, retrieve tissue) 
Description A range of micro-manipulation and biopsy tools have been developed to aim to reach single cell surgery for fundamental biology study and micro-biopsy. This research tool is developed by Dr Antoine Barbot, Dr Hyun-Taek Lee and Dan-Dan Zhang 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The fiberbot approach have the capability to downsize the scale of the tools used in surgery. The development of micro-manipulation and biopsy tools will be potential beneficial to fundamental biology study and micro-biopsy. The final goal is to fully integrate the tools into the continuum robot for the application of the micro-robotics surgery. 
 
Title Modelling Micro-IGES Dynamics 
Description In the past few decades machine learning and data analysis have been having a huge growth and they have been applied in many different problems in the field of robotics. Data are usually the result of sensor measurements and, as such, they might be subjected to noise and outliers. The presence of outliers has a huge impact on modelling the acquired data, resulting in inappropriate models. Our research team proposed a ''robust'' method for learning the mapping which is able to discard possible outliers in the dataset (outlier detection and rejection for input/output mapping in regression problems) This Research method was developed by Dr Francesco Cursi, Professor Guang-Zhong Yang. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This novel method for outlier detection and rejection for input/output mapping in regression problems is shown both through simulated data for linear and nonlinear regression, and real sensory data. Despite being validated by using artificial neural networks, the method can be generalized to any other regression method. 
 
Title Real-Time 3-D Shape Instantiation for Partially Deployed Stent Segments 
Description In fenestrated endovascular aortic repair (FEVAR), accurate alignment of stent graft fenestrations or scallops with aortic branches is essential for establishing complete blood flow perfusion. Current navigation is largely based on two-dimensional (2-D) fluoroscopic images, which lacks 3-D anatomical information, thus causing a longer operation time and high risks of radiation exposure. Previously, 3-D shape instantiation frameworks for realtime 3-D shape reconstruction of fully deployed or fully compressed stent grafts from a single 2-D fluoroscopic image have been proposed for 3-D navigation in FEVAR. However, these methods could not instantiate partially deployed stent segments, as the 3-D marker references are unknown. Our research team proposed an adapted graph convolutional network (GCN) to predict 3-D partially deployed marker references from 3-D fully deployed marker references. The coarsening layers of the original GCN are removed and the softmax function at the network end is replaced with linear mapping for regression. The derived 3-D marker references and the 2-D marker positions are used to instantiate the partially deployed stent segment, combined with the previous 3-D shape instantiation framework. This research method was developed by Dr Jian-Qing Zheng, Dr Xiao-Yun Zhou, Celia Riga and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Validations were performed on three typical stent grafts and five patient-specific 3-D printed aortic aneurysm phantoms. Reasonable performances with average mesh distance errors from 1.0 to 2.4 mm and average angular errors around 7.2° were achieved. 
 
Title Rolling-Joint Design Optimization for Tendon Driven Snake-Like Surgical Robots 
Description The use of snake-like robots for surgery is a popular choice for intra-luminal procedures. In practice, the requirements for strength, flexibility and accuracy are difficult to be satisfied simultaneously. Our research team presented a computational approach for optimizing the design of a snake-like robot using serial rolling-joints and tendons as the base architecture for minimally invasive surgery. The method optimizes the design in terms of joint angle range and tendon placement to prevent the tendons and joints from colliding during bending motion. The resulting optimized joints were manufactured using 3D printing. The robot was characterized in terms of workspace, dexterity, precision and manipulation forces. The results show a repeatability as low as 0.9mm and manipulation forces of up to 5.6N. This research method/tool was developed by Dr Pierre Berthet-Rayne, Dr Konrad Leibrandt, Dr Kiyoung Kim, Dr Carlo Seneci, Dr Jianzhong Shang and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The key technical contributions of the work include a new bi-stable synchronous rolling-joint, a corresponding optimization algorithm that also consider collisions, and a spinal cord architecture with tendon routed in the center of the robot to reduce tendon cross-talk. The model of the rolling-joint for 3D motion is investigated, and the details of the algorithm to optimize the joint parameters are described. The resulting dexterity of the proposed device was studied in detail, demonstrating marked improvements compared to a previous prototype. An optimized joint was manufactured using additive manufacturing and characterized in terms of precision and manipulation forces. The results show manipulation forces up to 5.6 N but will need to be further characterized in a clinical scenario with an outer sheath and tools running inside the robot. 
 
Title Soft, biodegradable and 3D printed fibres and device-cell interfaces 
Description A fabrication of biodegradable hydrogel and/or biopolymer materials for 3D printing of fibres has been developed for the creation of a new paradigm in fibrebots and fibre-based medical devices. This research method is led by: Dr Dominic Wales Internal Collaborators: Dr Meysam Keshavarz, Dr Panagiotis Kassanos, Dr Antoine Barbot, Dr Jang-Ah Kim and Dr Hyun-Taek Lee 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact These fibre devices can be used for the next generation of neuro-regeneration and also as injectable (injected/delivered from the end of a fibre bot) cylindrical fibre-based stents that unfold to reopen/repair damaged or collapsing alveoli/airways located at the small far distal branches of the lung. 
 
Title Steerable fibre robot 
Description New fibre manufacturing techniques, novel materials, MEMS are investigated to introduce steerability to fibre catheters. Researchers with significant contribution: Mohamed Abdelaziz, Burak Temelkuran, Salzitsa Anastasova, Michail Kiziroglou. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Ability to steer a fibre with small dimensions will allow our robot to reach distal ends of the lumens of the human body which is among the main goals of this project. 
 
Title Surface Tension for Micro-Gripper Pneumatic Actuation 
Description The pistons are fabricated using two-photon polymerization (2PP), and they have an actuation around 20 microns The gas / liquid interface, which occurs around the circumference of the piston, creates a seal that can withstand a pressure of up to 200 mbar. The piston is actuated in an aqueous environment, with the pushing force generated by a microfluidic pump connected to the capillary tube. This design employs one physical phenomenon that works well across scales (pressure induced force) and another that is most prevalent at the microscale (surface tension). 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This design employs one physical phenomenon that works well across scales (pressure induced force) and another that is most prevalent at the micro-scale (surface tension). The proposed actuator could, in the future, serve as the basis for designing tethered micro-surgical tools, such as micro-grippers or local drug delivery systems. 
 
Title Using deep neural networks for the bronchoscopic generative localisation 
Description Robot-assisted endobronchial intervention requires accurate localization based on both intra- and pre-operative data. Most existing methods achieve this by registering 2D videos with 3D CT models according to a defined similarity metric with local features. Our research team formulated the bronchoscopic localization as a learning-based global localisation using deep neural networks. The proposed network consists of two generative architectures and one auxiliary learning component. The cycle generative architecture bridges the domain variance between the real bronchoscopic videos and virtual views derived from pre-operative CT data so that the proposed approach can be trained through a large number of generated virtual images but deployed through real images. This research method was developed by Dr Cheng Zhao, Dr Mali Shen and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The auxiliary learning architecture leverages complementary relative pose regression to constrain the search space, ensuring consistent global pose predictions. Most importantly, the uncertainty of each global pose is obtained through variational inference by sampling within the learned underlying probability distribution. Detailed validation results demonstrate the localization accuracy with reasonable uncertainty achieved and its potential clinical value. 
URL https://youtu.be/ci9LMY49aF8
 
Title fibres with sensors 
Description Low profile fibres with various sensors are developed to interrogate the target region with biofouling prevention. Researchers with significant contribution: Salzitsa Anastasova, Mohamed Abdelaziz, Burak Temelkuran. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Early, easy and low cost detection of disease / infection. 
 
Title flexible continuum robot 
Description We are developing several techniques to make a flexible continuum robot from metal structures to polymers with outer diameters around 2mm and inner diameters around 1.4mm or several smaller channels to guide multiple instruments. Laser cutting of nitinol and polymeric fibre drawing and laser machining are methods developed. Researchers with significant contribution to this project: Ning Liu, Mohamed E. M. K. Abdelaziz, Mali Shen, Burak Temelkuran. Update 2019: Laser paterning of polymer fibres achieved flexible tips for fibre diameters as small as 1 mm. A patent is filed (2018). With plastic or glass based tendons, braiding performed inhouse, the resulting fibre catheter reached commercial level, with flexibility of material introduction for MR visibility and other features. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of the work is presented this year in conference. 
 
Title i2snake 
Description newly designed continuum robot with increased the stability and size of the working channels, an improvement to the existing iSnake. Researchers with significant contribution: Pierre Berthet-Rayne, Andreas Schmitz. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Significant reduction in size and cost compared to similar medical robots. 
 
Title micro-robots 
Description Control and fabrication of optically-driven micro-robots for cell manipulation. Researchers with significant contribution: Maria Grammatikopoulou, Salzitsa Anastasova 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Application of developed methodologies for single cell analysis, including cell manipulation, cell property characterization and cell assembly. 
 
Title multi-material multi-functional fibres 
Description Methods to fabricate fibres with smart materials, various geometries and functions tailored to unmet needs of medicine. Addition of a motor driven unit allows fabrication of helical channels in a fibre for improving tendon driven structures. Researchers with significant contribution: Mohamed Abdelaziz, Salzitsa Anastasova, Burak Temelkuran. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Fibre robots for medicine, MRI compatible steerable catheters and guidewires 
 
Title pCLE with dual wavelength and increased resolution 
Description probe based confocal laser endomicroscope which our team has increased the image acquisition speed significantly to allow large area scan has now 2 added features, improved resolution by added ability to shift the bundle in micron scale, and increased detection capacity by using dual wavelength. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It allows visibility of different morphological elements that are not always detectable by single wavelength, and with improved resolution to enable to see smaller structures and hence improves ability to identify target tissue such as cancerous ones. 
 
Title Raman spectra database 
Description The experimental data (Raman spectra) were collected by using a DXR2xi Raman Imaging Microscope (Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA) equipped with OMNICxi Raman Imaging software and a lab-built benchtop Raman spectrometer system including a spectrometer (QE Pro, Ocean Optics, Inc., Germany) equipped with lab-built LabVIEW measurement programme. Raman imaging data were taken by averaging for area of 10 µm x 10 µm sample square (400 spectra) and additionally averaging for nine of the sample squares (3,600 spectra). Data collection using the benchtop system were carried out by recording and averaging 10 to 100 spectra. This research database was collected by Dr Jang Ah Kim (internal collaborators: Dr Dominic Wales and Dr Alex Thompson) 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A conference presentation/proceeding was out in 2019 and a journal article was published in 2020. Details available in the Publications section. 
 
Description 'Biohybrid prosthetic for nerve regeneration based on multi-functional fibre' Clinical Colaboration with Renji hospital in Shanghai 
Organisation Renji Hospital
Country China 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution The Hamlyn Centre is developing a new generation of microfabrication techniques, based on multi-functional fibre could improve the rehabilitation of patient by allowing for the implants to directly reconnect severed nerves. To achieve this, the growth of cultured nervous cells along an implant axes will be induced and enhanced by the mean of topological, electrical and chemical stimulations. A unique set of techniques has been developed in the Hamlyn Centre for the fabrication, functionalisation, electrical connection and fluid delivery capability of fibre designed and realised on site. Those fibres of tuneable diameter and length can be used to meet the requirement of nerve regeneration implants. Our research teams brought our current research results regarding neuro-regeneration, robotic assisted surgery for spinal cord surgery and wearable devices to our collaborators for further discussion.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborators from Renji Hospital offered their advices to our research issues. This collaboration will be used to set up an experimental framework adapted toward our long term goal of in vivo study.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2019
 
Description Development of fibre-optic SERS probes using two-photon polymerisation for rapid in vivo detection of bacteria 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr Jang Ah Kim is leading the project by designing experiments; developing protocols; fabricating devices; conducting experiments; collecting, plotting and analysing data; writing papers.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Dominic Wales, who is an internal collaborator at the Hamlyn Centre, contributes to characterisation and improvement of surface chemistry of the developed devices; discussions on the experiments and data analysis; writing papers. Dr Alex Thompson, who is a lecturer in Department of Surgery and Cancer, contributes to designing and building optical systems and devices; providing access to microbiological/clinical samples and facilities; discussions on the experiments and data analysis; writing papers.
Impact A conference presentation/proceeding was out in 2019 and a journal article was published in 2020. Details available in the Publications section.
Start Year 2018
 
Description MIT magnetic robots and low friction materials 
Organisation Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our team suggesting applications for the developed magnetic as well as low friction materials MIT team developed under Prof Xuanhe Zhao.
Collaborator Contribution 3D printed magnetic materials and low friction materials.
Impact Collaboration at early stage for any output.
Start Year 2018
 
Description MicroElectroMechanical Multimaterial fibres 
Organisation Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Application of fibres to Medical Robotics and Confocal Endomicroscope
Collaborator Contribution Fabrication of fibres with piezoelectric polymers for actuation. They supported EPSRC programme grant "Micro-Robotics for Surgery" application.
Impact Multi-dicipllinary: Materials Science, Engineering, Physics, Robotics, Surgery
Start Year 2017
 
Description Multimaterial fibres for biosensing 
Organisation Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution (1) Functionalisation of fibres for bio-sensing, animal and clinical studies (2) Design and optical characterization of fibres, applications such as mass spectrometry
Collaborator Contribution Fabrication of fibres with novel metal electrodes (1) or waveguides (2)
Impact they supported EPSRC programme grant "Micro-robotics for surgery" application. There is a patent application (pending) they supported, led by our team. Disciplines involved: Materials science, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Microbiology, Surgery
Start Year 2017
 
Description Neuro interface with multimaterial fibres 
Organisation Virginia Tech
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are working with Prof Xiaoting Jia on advancing the interface to neurons using multimaterial fibre combined with our sensor capabilities.
Collaborator Contribution Her previous work and expertise on neural interface, listening / triggering to single neuron activity with her probes.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary work of physics, chemistry and material science to advance probes for neural interface. Work ongoing,
Start Year 2018
 
Title A device 
Description A surgical tube having an axis and a wall with an axial channel 345a,b within the wall, the first tube comprising a plurality of interlocking segments 334. The interlocking segments may have axial 338, 340 and tangential 344, 346 interlocks, each having complementary engaging parts. The segments may interlock such that they cannot be separated without breaking. A control tendon may extend through the channel. A second tube may be attached to the first tube and be integral thereto. The second tube may have a spiral channel having a path axis along the tube axis and aligned with the channel in the first tube. The tube is manufactured by drawing of a preform that may be glass or polymer and segmenting the drawn tube. Segmenting may be carried out by laser or mechanical cutting, chemical etching or lithography. The first and second tubes may be drawn in a continuous process. 
IP Reference GB2575675 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2020
Licensed No
Impact There is interest from a company in this invention.
 
Title Low temperature fibre draw tower 
Description The custom made fibre tower we built gives us the unique capacity to co-draw multiple materials with different functionalities into a single fibre for medicine. The field is new and the potential is unique, and our research spans a wide range from bio-sensors (current EPSRC programme grant) to fibre robots (new EPSRC programme grant Micro-Robotics for Surgery) 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact This equipment will enable us to fabricate fibres with various integrated functionalities. In addition to optical interface with the tip of the fibre that conventional fibres offer, these multimaterial fibres allow other means of communication with the sensors at the tip, such as electrical interface with metal elements in the fibre, and fluidic interface via micro-channels, all integrated into a single fibre. These fibres will help integrate and miniaturize multiple sensors, allow drug delivery, and will significantly enhance overall functionality of our sensors in this project. The emerging field of multimaterial fibers presents exciting opportunities and has potential to create many fundamental research areas 
 
Description Conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Oral presentation at conference "Plasmonics in Biology and Medicine XVI" in SPIE Photonics West 2019 about development of SERS-on-a-tip (surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy on an optical fibre tip) probes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://spie.org/conferences-and-exhibitions/photonics-west?SSO=1
 
Description EPSRC Scientific Advisory Board & Research Steering Group Bi-annual Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Scientific Advisory Board & Research Steering Group members came to the Hamlyn Centre for participating the bi-annual meeting to examine our current research progress. Our research teams presented a series of demos as well as current progress presentation to all the members for demonstrating our works.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://twitter.com/ICLHamlynRobots/status/1088766049590394880
 
Description Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The former Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Imperial College and toured the Hamlyn Centre for Robotics, viewing demonstrations of surgical robots, 3D printed microrobotic tools and augmented reality technology for medical imaging.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/187036/former-pm-supports-lord-darzi-report/
 
Description Friends of Imperial Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Centre participated in the programme of "Friends of Imperial Visit" as one of visit destinations. Our research teams demonstrated the latest research result to the "Friends of Imperial Visit" participants and answered their questions regarding the works.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.friendsofimperial.org.uk/Media/Documents/Current_Programme.pdf
 
Description Hamlyn Centre Christmas Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Christmas Showcase was an event for collaborators and affiliates of the Hamlyn Centre that showcased the latest research outputs of the Hamlyn Centre. The aim was to communicate our research findings and encourage deeper collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Hamlyn Centre Induction Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Centre Induction Day was an event for creating better connectivity within the Hamlyn team of over 80 researchers. With talks, networking activities and discussions, this event enabled MRes students, PhD students, researchers and support staff to engage and share ideas for development of Hamlyn initiatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Hamlyn Centre Official Twitter 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Centre Official Twitter account aims to reach out all types of audiences for demonstrating our research progress and result, promoting our events and sharing relevant information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://twitter.com/ICLHamlynRobots
 
Description Hamlyn Symposium Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organised this workshop on "Focused Energy Delivery & Precision Intervention", bringing clinical and technical speakers on the topic together.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Hamlyn Winter School on Surgical Imaging and Vision 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Winter School focuses on both the technical and clinical aspects of Surgical Imaging and Vision. Through invited lectures, hands-on demonstrations, workshops, and mini-projects, the purpose of our winter school is to help researchers familiarise with the cutting edge research of this rapidly expanding field covering key areas of:

Fundamentals and current state-of-the-art in surgical imaging;
Vision algorithms for tracking, 3D scene reconstruction and surgical navigation;
Intra-operative registration and retargeting;
Multi-modal image fusion and real-time augmented reality systems based on inverse realism;
Robot assisted large area microscopic imaging and mosaicing;
Dynamic active constraints with real-time vision;
Vision enabled surgical robot design and miniaturisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/hamlyn-centre/news-and-events/hamlyn-winter-school-on-surgical-imaging-an...
 
Description Hamlyn Winter School on Surgical Imaging and Vision 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Winter School focuses on both technical and clinical aspects of Surgical Imaging and Vision, with invited lectures, hands-on demonstrations, workshops, and mini-projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/winterschool/
 
Description INformative talk to international students of Revolutions in Biomedicine Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Maura Power gave a talk to students taking part in the "Revolutions in Biomedicine Summer School" at Imperial College about the state of the art of microrobotics in medicine, and also discussed the published on-going work at the Hamlyn Centre (July 2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interactive presentation in ICRA 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We had an interactive presentation for 4 hours during the conference. We presented our work with posters and videos, and discussed with people who are interested.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description International Robotics Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A showcase of robotics for academia, industry and the public
The International Robotics Showcase will be part of the International Business Festival this year, and this will be held on Thursday 21st June 2018 at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, Kings Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, L3 4FP.The full-day programme includes exclusive talks by world-renowned experts in science and technology, panel discussions, exhibitions, robot demonstrations and an award ceremony for competition winners demonstrating cutting-edge robotics innovation.

Exciting demonstrations of cutting-edge robotics technology;

Lively discussion and debate, covering ethical, legal and economic impacts of Robotics and AI;

The release of several new White Papers, covering the current research landscape in:
Urban Automation & Transport
AgriTech
The day also offers academics, industry, government organisations and the public, the opportunity to enjoy the fascinating and diverse exhibits by our sponsors, as well as provide a lively forum for discussion and discovery of some of the latest technological developments and research challenges in Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

The event will take place within the 2018 International Business Festival and a 9 day pass is included withi your registration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/uk-ras/robotics-week/showcase
 
Description Invited Talk- Prof Itaru Kitahara: 3D-CG Virtual Surgical Operation in University of Tsukuba 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Our senior research fellow Dr Matina Giannarou invited Prof. Itaru Kitahara to share the experience about "3D-CG Virtual Surgical Operation in University of Tsukuba" with our researchers in the Hamlyn Centre. Prof. Itaru Kitahara is leading the Virtual Surgery research project at the University of Tsukuba, Japan and his research focuses on Computer Vision and Mixed Reality. During the talk, he not only introduced "3D CG Virtual Surgery", which aims to realise a navigation system of surgical operation using Computer Vision and AR/VR techniques, but also presented the collaboration between their research team and the medical doctors in our university regarding 3D CG Virtual Surgery.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://twitter.com/ICLHamlynRobots/status/1102943972790542336
 
Description Invited Talk- Prof Jackrit Suthakorn: the past, present and future of the BART LAB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Jackrit Suthakorn, the BART LAB executive director and the department chair of Department of Biomedical Engineering at Mahidol University, visited the Hamlyn Centre on Monday 25th January 2019. He gave a talk regarding the development of the BART LAB as well as their current research areas and progress in robotics for extreme environment as well as rehabilitation to the Hamlyn Centre researchers and members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Lecture in clinical engineering hub - "Fibres for Medical Robots to Medical Fibre Robots" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the clinical engineering program, Dr Temelkuran gave lecture. 10 students attended. 3 of them followed up with summer internship requests.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://clinicianengineer.com
 
Description MARSS conference Nagoya Japan 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A presentation "Surface Tension for Micro-Gripper Pneumatic Actuation" in MARSS conference Nagoya Japan 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Materials Science for Medical Robotics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Workshop Aims
The traditional concept of motor driven robots with mechanical transmission and computer control is still deeply rooted into our design workflow and hardware embodiment in robotics. However, exciting advances in materials science, including the development of smart materials, energy harvesting and actuation schemes, as well as the adoption of bio-inspired design principles can offer radically new ways to construct and operate robots. These are particularly relevant to the future development of medical robotics, integrating sensing, micro-scale tissue manipulation and targeted delivery. They challenge the physical limitation of mechatronics and are no longer limited by the degrees-of-freedom of traditional mechanisms. New materials that combine sensing, actuation, computation and communication offer a whole range of new opportunities for the design of new robots. New actuators made by these materials can react to its external environment by either changing their material properties or geometries and they can be electrically responsive, or react to temperature, light, magnetic field, pressure, mechanical loading or surrounding chemical properties (e.g. changes in pH). They are also sensitive to more local effects or fluctuations including surface tension, diffusion, induction pumping, ion-drag and conductive heterogeneity.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers in medical robotics and materials science to explore new research opportunities and potential synergies in the development and application of new materials for medical robotics. The workshop will include several invited talks, and we also welcome submissions from Symposium attendees.
The workshop ended with several potential collaboration discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes MP and Cancer Research UK Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, visited Imperial in October 2018 and took a tour of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery. She was joined by representatives of Cancer Research UK and our college president Alice Gast. During the visit, Caroline Nokes was shown some of our latest robot technology in medicine, developments which have enabled healthcare professionals to conduct smarter operations with higher precision.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/188691/immigration-minister-sees-benefits-internationalism-imperial/
 
Description Patient speaker 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact We had a patient speaker arranged with the help of Breast Cancer Now charity board member of this programme grant - Simon Vincent. The patient gave a talk which was:
- Motivational: Our young engineers always hear about survival rates, complications in surgery, infection, etc With her talk, all these are now linked to reality, and importance of their work is a lot more obvious to them. Anna's talk was quite motivative for the team.
- Inspiring: Anna being a researcher especi
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Professor Daniel Elson: Lighting Up The Operating Theatre 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Professor Daniel Elson, our Hamlyn Centre Director of Studies, talked through a career that has mirrored the typical innovation translation pathway - from a PhD in laser physics, and time spent in the Faculty of Engineering developing imaging tools for key hole surgery, a move to the Division of Surgery saw him work directly with surgeons to begin translating those technologies into image guidance tools. He discussed progress made developing diagnostic methods and technologies, and the value of adopting a clinical, rather than purely technological driven, approach to innovation and problem solving, working with surgeons to identify challenges today and tomorrow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOQz7HufVaQ&feature=youtu.be
 
Description School Robot Challenge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The challenge will be run jointly by any interested UK-RAS partner universities, and is aimed at teams of schoolchildren of ages up to 16 (year 11). It will be published in the UK-RAS Robotics Week 2018 brochure and on the website, and will be distributed via each participating university's local schools' network.

The challenge will consist of 2 separate activities: the first involves schools working independently to develop and then submit a design(s) for a robot system to help older people. The deadline for submissions for this activity is 18/05/2018.

The best entries will then be chosen, with one winning team selected by each participating university (the proximity of school to university may or may not influence the decision), which will then invite that team to a special one-day event on 26/06/2018 (that is, the Tuesday of UK Robotics Week). After a tour of the robot labs, the teams will be set another similar care-themed challenge using whatever basic, programmable robotics equipment is to hand (e.g., Lego Mindstorms - there is no requirement for the same equipment to be used at each university). This activity will last from 10.30am until 3.30pm with a working lunch provided, and if possible live streaming of video from the other participating sites (also shown on the UK-RAS website). The goal of each team will be to produce a smartphone video of no longer than 1 minute's duration that describes the problem, the concept and design of their suggested solution, and - hopefully - shows their solution in action.

The videos will be uploaded to YouTube or similar. A panel of judges - one from each participating university - will view each of the videos, and then confer to select an overall winning team. (Some of) the winning team will then be invited to the UK Robotics Week Showcase event on Thursday 21st June, where they will receive a prize (budget permitting) on behalf of their school.

The suggested text publicising the challenge is below. (Note that it is not intended to be as explicit as the above text to allow for some flexibility in the format to take into account the number and quality of submissions, budget available, participating universities, etc., and all dates are subject to confirmation.)


The UK-RAS Health and Social Care Challenge 2018

We invite schools to submit their designs for a robotic system that addresses the challenge of how to help older people stay healthy and live independent lives. Submissions should be the work of teams of up to 8 children aged 16 or under. Entries can be in any format, should be no longer than 1000 words (or equivalent) in length, and each school may submit an unlimited number of entries.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 18th May. The judging panel will then select the best entries, with submissions being judged according to their usefulness, practicality and creativity. The winning teams will be invited to a special one-day event on Tuesday 26th June at their nearest UK-RAS University, during which they will visit our robotics facilities to learn more about our research, and then get to develop and test their own robots.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/uk-ras/events/school-robot-challenge
 
Description School Robot Challenge at Imperial Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An interactive activity was provided at the Imperial Festival 2017, based on the School Robot Challenge organised by the Hamlyn Centre and the UK-RAS Network. This activity encouraged schoolchildren to be inspired by robotics and nature and create their own digital robotic insect. The children drew a robotic insect on paper and were then shown how to turn it into a 3D computer model.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/uk-ras/robotics-week-2018
 
Description Surgical Robot Challenge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The aim of this challenge is to exploit the unique expertise of the consortium in medical robotics to develop low-cost robot-assisted surgical and diagnostic devices that can benefit the NHS as well as be used as solutions for global health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/hsmr/events/surgical-robot-challenge-2017
 
Description Surrey University: To host the 18th TAROS 2017 as an official event of UK Robotics Week 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact TAROS is a platform for RAS researchers from worldwide, and welcomes paper submissions on a wide range of topics related to the principles and practice of robotics, including but not limited to:

Advanced applications of autonomous robots (industrial and research)
Advanced medical robotics; Robots for surgery; Assistive robotics; Intelligent prostheses
Applications development, hardware issues, devices and techniques, advanced sensors and actuators
Autonomous assembly robotics; Modular reconfigurable robots; Evolutionary robotics
Autonomous vehicles; driverless cars
Bio-mimetic and bio-inspired robotics; Bio-hybrid robotic systems; Humanoid robotics
Cognitive robotics; Developmental robotics
Ethical and societal issues in robotics; Robots in education, the arts and entertainment; Personal robotics
Field robotics, Space and planetary robotics
Human-robot interaction and interfaces
Learning and adaptation
Long-term interaction and operation
Modelling and analysis of robot models
Navigation, localization, map building and path planning; Analysis of robot-environment interaction
Robot autonomy including energy self-sufficiency; Robot control architectures; Robot vision, sensing and perception
Robot communication and language
Safety, verification and validation for robotic applications
Service robotics
Soft robotics
Swarm robotics; Collective robots
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.surrey.ac.uk/taros2017
 
Description Talk at SPIE / Photonics West LASE conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Maura Power gave a talk at SPIE / Photonics West LASE conference in San Francisco, US in one of the Laser 3D Manufacturing sessions on the topic of the many different applications and fabrication approaches with two-photon polymerisation for novel microrobot designs (January 2018).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk to CNRS students and researchers at FEMTO-ST in Besançon 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Maura Power delivered a talk to CNRS students and researchers at FEMTO-ST in Besançon, France about her work on "Fabrication of tethered microrobot end-effectors using two-photon polymerisation", and other related published material at the Hamlyn Centre on microrobots (December 2018).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description The Hamlyn Centre Christmas Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Christmas Showcase is an event that showcased the latest research outputs form our research teams at the Hamlyn Centre. Every year we invite our collaborators and affiliates to participate this event in order to demonstrate our research findings and to discuss potential further collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://twitter.com/ICLHamlynRobots/status/1073577685488754688
 
Description The Hamlyn Centre Official Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Centre Official website aims to engage with all types of audiences for introducing our centre purpose and structure as well as our research areas and environment. On the website, we also constantly update job opportunities, event information and News from our research teams as well as the Imperial College.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/hamlyn-centre/
 
Description The Hamlyn Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics (HSMR) provides an annual forum for surgeons and engineers from across the globe, to network and explore the latest developments in medical robotics. The Symposium has been successfully conducted for the past 11 years and has become a leading international conference on medical robotics, current clinical practice and emerging technologies in robotic surgery. Every year researchers, clinicians and engineers are invited to submit papers on a range of topics covering clinical specialities in Urology, Cardiac Surgery, Neuro Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, General Surgery, Gynaecology, ENT, Orthopaedic and Paediatric Surgery. The Hamlyn Symposium is composed of a series of workshops on various clinical and technical topics and the main conference with the participants from leading medical, science and technology institutions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.ukras.org/hamlyn/
 
Description UK Robotics Week 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Acting autonomously or in close collaboration with humans, Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) have a broad range of new and established applications. As the underlying technologies are further developed and translated from laboratory settings to real-world applications, RAS is playing an increasingly important role in the UK's economy and it's future growth.

The UK-RAS Network was established with the mission to provide academic leadership, expand collaboration with industry and integrate and coordinate activities at the EPSRC funded RAS capital facilities, Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and partner universities across the UK.

We are delighted with last year's inaugural UK Robotics Week and proud to build on its success with this year's event. The UK Robotics Week provides a spotlight on the UK's technology leadership in RAS, and engages the nation's schools, colleges and universities in developing the digital skills needed to drive the UK's future economy.

The UK Robotics Week also acts as a forum for discussion of technological, commercial, legal, ethical and social aspects of robotics. The wide range of events covered, from symposia, workshops, conferences, festivals, competitions and hackathons, contribute to a thriving programme across the country. We endeavour to provide promotion to other robotics related events in the calendar and aim to ensure robotics remains high on the government's agenda as one of the transformative technologies of the present and future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/roboticsweek2017/welcome
 
Description Workshop in the Hamlyn Symposium: Clinical Photonics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact With increasing maturity and clinical uptake of Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), the provision of technologies that provide in vivo morphological and functional characterisation beyond the exposed tissue surface has become an important research topic. Clinically, such technologies can further expand the functional capabilities of MIS in providing improved tissue detection, labelling, and targeting both at macro and cellular levels. Optical imaging and spectroscopy provide opportunities in this area, both in surgical environments and in other clinical scenarios (e.g. diagnostics, screening, monitoring, etc.). Point based spectroscopic approaches such as diffuse reflectance, Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy have been shown to be clinically useful for in vivo assessment of cancer, atherosclerosis and ischemia. Imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), probe-based Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy (pCLE), two photon excited fluorescence imaging, and fluorescence lifetime imaging have shown promising results for in vivo tissue characterisation for MIS.

This workshop will bring clinicians together with researchers in academia and industry to exchange ideas on the current state-of-the-art and future trends in clinical applications of photonics. The scope of the workshop is broad and includes both established and emerging technologies based on optical imaging and spectroscopy. While a variety of photonic technologies and clinical applications will be discussed, the workshop will maintain a focus on devices that can be seamlessly integrated with the surgical environment and that can be compatible with robot-assisted interventions. It will also include online decision support, content-based image retrieval/association, and optical pathology to enable real-time, in vivo tissue characterisation. The workshop will include several invited talks, and we also welcome submissions from Symposium attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Workshop in the Hamlyn Symposium: Emerging Learning Techniques for Robotics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Learning is a rapidly advancing field in recent years, in terms of both methodological development and practical applications. In medical robotics, computational models are able to learn with supervision or without supervision to facilitate intricate medical interventions, i.e. cancer detection and autonomous suturing. It can implicitly capture task principles and repeat it with comparable accuracy, robustness and time-efficiency.

Whilst some of the technical challenges are still being addressed, including generative modelling, large-scale parameter optimisation, and handling heterogeneous multi-modal data with varying temporal dependencies and missing samples, its use for medical robotics has reached marked success. Examples include the use of deep learning for tissue characterisation and the use of reinforcement learning for catheter manipulation. Other applications include surgical vision, navigation, learning, adaptation and task automation.

The purpose of this workshop is to report the latest advances in the field of learning for medical robotics, addressing both original algorithmic development and new applications of deep learning.

Topics for this special issue include, but are not limited to:

Learning for surgical vision and navigation;
Learning for tissue characterisation, optical biopsy and margin assessment;
Learning for learning, adaptation and surgical task completion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ukras.org/hamlyn/workshops/emerging-learning-techniques-for-robotics/
 
Description Workshop in the Hamlyn Symposium: Focused Energy Delivery & Precision Intervention 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Accessing to human anatomy through natural orifices or small incisions (keyholes), navigating through lumens of body, medical robotics are advancing to overcome challenges associated with access and precision, allowing rapid diagnostics and precise localization of diseases of different stages. As the surgical tools you can bring to the robotic surgical site is quite limited due to space restrictions, the energy source for the precise and safe removal of these malignancies should be carefully selected to satisfy a number of criteria such as adequate target tissue interaction, critical anatomy protection, selected ablation, coagulation and even helping tissue identification. Selected energy source potentially brings further challenges associated with flexible and low-profile delivery mechanisms to be integrated with existing robotic technologies as well as with the new technologies under development.

In this workshop, we will hear from clinicians their preferred energy sources for different types of surgeries, what improvement they would like to see, and get their feedback on integration of these in robotic surgery, current state of art and their expectations from advancements in medial robotics. We will have technical talks on recent advancements in various energy sources currently used in medicine such as electrical, ultrasonic (harmonic scalpel, HIFU) and laser energies, their delivery mechanisms and the progress in integration of these technologies to medical robotics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.ukras.org/hamlyn/workshops/focused-energy-delivery-precision-intervention/
 
Description Workshop in the Hamlyn Symposium: e-skins and Advanced Materials for Soft Robotics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact There is a growing need for electronic and sensing devices that can conform to non-flat surfaces and that can accommodate mechanical motions and stresses. Such devices are needed for wearable electronics applications such as physiological monitoring of patients and athletes, but also for prosthetic devices (artificial limbs), robotics and brain-machine interfaces. There is a particular need for such electronic skins for surgical robotic devices. To introduce flexibility and stretchability, a move away from traditional materials and fabrication processes is needed.

This has given rise to the field of flexible/stretchable electronics. This workshop will cover the aforementioned aspects within the context of realising e-skins that can introduce sensing intelligence to robotics, surgical tools, artificial limbs and wearable devices.

The workshop features researchers from leading medical, science and technology institutions covering topics including clinical needs and the latest developments of sensing technologies and new materials in medical innovation and healthcare and their application to robotics. There is still great potential for advancing the state of the art, with a need for further miniaturisation, increased functionality, in situ computation and signal processing and sensing capabilities.

What are the research directions we should focus?
What are the challenges yet to be addressed?
How does the future look?

An open panel discussion will summarise these and bring the workshop to a conclusion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.ukras.org/hamlyn/workshops/e-skins-and-advanced-materials-for-soft-robotics/
 
Description Workshop on Human-Robot Interactions Applied to Health 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uobgz4tjq7c1ue/HSMR17_programme-FINAL.pdf?dl=0
 
Description Workshop on Image Guided Therapies 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uobgz4tjq7c1ue/HSMR17_programme-FINAL.pdf?dl=0
 
Description Workshop on Micro-Robotics and Micro-Fabrication 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uobgz4tjq7c1ue/HSMR17_programme-FINAL.pdf?dl=0
 
Description Workshop on Next Generation Continuum Robots 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uobgz4tjq7c1ue/HSMR17_programme-FINAL.pdf?dl=0
 
Description Workshop on Robotic Catheters 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uobgz4tjq7c1ue/HSMR17_programme-FINAL.pdf?dl=0
 
Description Workshop on Soft Robotics Across Scales 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uobgz4tjq7c1ue/HSMR17_programme-FINAL.pdf?dl=0
 
Description Workshop on Surgical Robotics: First in Human - What does it take? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/hsmr/surgical-robotics-first-human-what-does-it-take
 
Description Workshop on Surgical Work?ow and Process Modelling 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact As part of the Hamlyn Symposium 10th anniversary on Medical Robotics, a workshop was run. This workshop was for academics, industry and show casing the latest technologies for medical robotics and latest research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uobgz4tjq7c1ue/HSMR17_programme-FINAL.pdf?dl=0