The surgeon's eye

Minimal-invasive surgeries have many advantages for the patient, but are more demanding for the surgeons than conventional open surgeries. In particular, the surgeon does not have a direct view on the surgical site because surgical instruments are inserted into the patient through small openings. So, a minimally invasive camera, i.e. an endoscope, is required that has to be manipulated by an assistant while the operating surgeon guides the surgical tools. In many cases, the surgical team is set up in an ad-hoc fashion and the collaboration between surgeon and his/her assistant is not optimal. Alternatively, we propose robot-assisted minimal invasive surgeries, where a robot guides an endoscope according to the desire of the surgeon. While the articulated robotic endoscope (i.e. an endoscope with discrete joints and rigid links like a finger) visualizes the surgical site in a stable way, machine learning algorithms ensure that the endoscope “knows” which object to focus on to provide the desired view for the surgeon. In summary, the project aims at the development, investigation, and validation of a controllable articulated endoscope camera. The project is led by the University of Basel and carried out in cooperation with the KIT. Eucor – The European Campus supports the consortium with the Seed Money funding instrument in the “Research and Innovation” funding line.