|30 September 2016|

Australia

Surgeons using robots to conduct keyhole surgery will now be given the sense of touch thanks to a game-changing innovation.

The HeroSurg robot is a world-first, where surgeons previously relied on sight, they will now be able to feel what they are doing, which will increase safety and accuracy.

Developed through a collaboration between Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI), Harvard University and Deakin’s School of Medicine it will transform what is possible.

Engineers from Deakin and Harvard developed the robot along with Professor Suren Krishnan, the first Australian surgeon to use the da Vinci robotic surgical system for ear, nose and throat procedures in 2008.

“The major drawback of the current system is the lack of tactile feedback,” Professor Krishnan said.

“Tactile feedback allows a surgeon to differentiate between tissues and to ‘feel’ delicate tissues weakened by infection or inflammation and dissect them more carefully. Tactile feedback will allow us to use finer and more delicate sutures in microsurgery.”

HeroSurg incorporates a number of amazing features including high-resolution 3D images, an increased range of motion for the surgeon, and a more ergonomic workstation console.

The HeroSurg could be used remotely, where the surgeon was thousands of miles from the theatre.

“In the not-too-distant future, many patients may be thanking HeroSurg for saving their lives,” IISRI Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi said.