Posted in | News | Medical Robotics

TU-e Researcher Develops New Surgical Robot

Linda van den Bedem and her technical team from Eindhoven University have created a surgical robot called ‘Sofie’ which works on the principle of 'force feedback' for helping the surgeon to sense various actions performed during the surgery like pulling the sutures, making incisions etc. Van den Bedem has termed this as the 'Surgeon’s Operating Force-feedback Interface Eindhoven' and has also received the patent for the surgical robot concept.

Sofie surgical robot

Robotic surgery enables performing highly complex and accurate surgeries. The operations performed using surgical robots have certain constraints including bulkiness and clumsiness of the robot, surgeon’s inability to feel what he is doing etc. These disadvantages can be avoided by employing the compact Sophie.

During the operation, the surgeon experiences force feedback in the joy sticks which are used to perform the surgery. The magnitude of this counter pressure is equivalent to that of the surgical action performed by him like making a suture or pushing aside a tissue layer etc, thereby helping him to feel the exact force exerted by him. The control of the force feedback is being researched by the team.

The section of the robot that performs the surgery at the table is called as the slave. Sofie’s slave is ascended on the procedure table and not fitted on the floor, thereby eliminating the requirement of rearranging everything once the position of the patient and the procedure table are changed or inclined. Using Sofie, a particular organ can be accessed from various sides and can even precisely operate ‘around the corner’.

Van den Bedem and her team are developing a business case for deducing the market potential of their surgical robot. They are also working on determining the right price for Sophie. Van den Bedem has expressed that their robot can be launched in the commercial market in another five years.


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