Investigation and Development of an Endourology Haptic Robot Simulator for Surgical Training

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Within any type of surgery, training is key to the patient's safety. This process requires a lot of time and can be stressful for both the trainer (experienced surgeon) and the trainee.
Robotics has been utilised within surgery, with systems such as the DaVinci [1] (a system in which the operating tools are controlled remotely), and simulation technologies.
In the field of endourology, in which small internal instruments and endoscopes are used to perform surgery within the urinary tract, the company Simbionix, with their software 'Uromentor' [2] are currently leading the market in simulators used for training. However, ttheir capabilities are limited, and, furthermore, do not include haptic feedback. Additionally, hands-on training often results in expensive equipment being damaged due to the steep learning curve of new surgeons.
The proposed research project will investigate these shortcomings and develop a novel medical simulator within this field.
Through tracking the hands of experienced surgeons when performing these procedures, there is potential to build a workspace, of motion, movements and forces. The data within this would allow the system to distinguish between novel surgeons and advanced surgeons and compare what they are doing differently. Such an investigation would also answer the question of 'how much feedback and at what resolution is required' so that the learning experience of surgical trainees is improved, and the learning length shortened. This primary research then allows for a simulator to be created with haptic feedback and multiple sensors integrated. The simulator will also record these procedures, allowing feedback to be given.
On top of using this system for training purposes, it has the potential to make experienced surgeons even better and unlearn mistakes which they have become accustomed to, as they would receive feedback in real-time. This project also provides the stepping stones for advanced diagnostics and improving instrumentation in urology.
The proposed methodology is only within its initial stage and could be subject to change through the project.

[1] Intuitive, "About da Vinci Systems," Intuitive , [Online]. Available: . [Accessed 31 May 2020].
[2] 3D Systems, "Uro Mentor," 3D Systems, [Online]. Available: . [Accessed 31 May 2020].


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023704/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2275730 Studentship EP/S023704/1 23/09/2019 22/09/2023 Morgan Jenkinson