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Surgical Robotics and Computational Surgery

Tuesday, April 10, 10:30-12:00
Meridian Ballrooms 4, Graduate Minneapolis (formerly The Commons Hotel)

Organizers: Timothy Kowalewski, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

"Robotics and the Simulated Heart"
Thomas Secord, Mechanical Engineering, University of St. Thomas

"Where Surgical Robots Can Advance Frontiers of Neurosurgery"
Andrew Grande, Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota

"Soft and Flexible Technologies for Medical Robots"
Conor Walsh, Harvard University

Session Abstract:

For over a decade, hospitals have embraced surgical robots at a dramatic pace and this rate of adoption continues to increase.  While there are many patient benefits, this technology also brings new challenges. Notably, these robots enable a new level of quantitative rigor previously unavailable in the operating room. This provides new opportunities for engineer and clinician collaboration to advance the state of the art in the operating room.

Session Organizer Bios:

Timothy Kowalewski, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Kowalewski completed his PhD in electrical engineering for “quantitative surgical skill evaluation” at the University of Washington's Biorobotics lab. This work was recognized with a best doctoral candidate award at the American College of Surgeons AEI Consortium on Surgical Robotics and Simulation. He was also a research scientist at DARPA’s “Traumapod: Operating room of the future” project.  He has helped commercialize his PhD work for quantitative skill evaluation hardware (Simulab Corp., Seattle, WA) and also co-pioneered the use of crowdsourcing for high-volume assessment of surgical skills (CSATS Inc, Seattle, WA). He is currently an assistant professor University of Minnesota Mechanical Engineering department where he runs the Medical Robotics and Devices Lab.

Speaker Bios:

Thomas Secord, Mechanical Engineering, University of St. Thomas
Dr. Secord is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas. Prior to St. Thomas, he spent six years at Medtronic working on the design and testing of transcatheter heart valves. Dr. Secord completed his Ph.D. at MIT in 2010. His current research focuses on the design of novel sensor and actuator systems for cardiac applications.

PH-FMConor Walsh, Harvard University
Conor Walsh is the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, apparel, clinical and business communities to develop new disruptive robotic technologies for augmenting and restoring human performance. This research includes new approaches to the design, manufacture and control of wearable robotic devices and characterizing their performance through biomechanical and physiological studies so as to further the scientific understanding of how humans interact with such machines.

Presentation Abstracts:

"Robotics and the Simulated Heart"
To date, mechanical failures of cardiac medical devices have been difficult to predict outside of pre-clinical animal studies, or even human use, because in vivo device loading is kinematically complex, highly dynamic, and stochastic. In vivo complexity results in low fidelity testing when using the commonly available single axis durability test machines. In our research, we aim to achieve high frequency mechanical motion that faithfully simulates the kinematics of human heart deformation. This work is part of a broader robotic research effort to redefine the capabilities of cardiovascular medical devices through the design, development, and application of novel sensors and actuators.

"Soft and Flexible Technologies for Medical Robots"
This talk will give a summary of some of our work in the area of robotic tools for augmenting the capabilities of clinicians during surgical and interventional procedures that leverage emerging materials and manufacturing approaches for creating soft and flexible systems.  Projects that will be described include a modular robotic system for minimally invasive procedures such as endoscopic submucosal dissection, a catheter-based technology designed to seal tissue defects with no rigid components by unfolding an adhesive-loaded elastic and UV curable patch via a deploying double-balloon, atraumatic graspers for retracting tissue and a soft robotic sleeve that can mimic and assist the damaged myocardial architecture of the heart.

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