Research in surgical robotics has an established track record at Imperial College, and a number of research and commercial surgical robot platforms have been developed over the years. The Hamlyn Centre is a champion for technological innovation and clinical adoption of robotic, minimally invasive surgery. We work in partnership with major industrial leaders in medical devices and surgical robots, as well as developing our own platforms such as the i-Snake® and Micro-IGES platforms. The Da Vinci surgical robot is used extensively for endoscopic radical prostatectomy, hiatal hernia surgery, and low pelvic and rectal surgery, and in 2003, St Mary’s Hospital carried out its first Totally Endoscopic Robotic Coronary Artery Bypass (TECAB).

The major focus of the Hamlyn Centre is to develop robotic technologies that will transform conventional minimally invasive surgery, explore new ways of empowering robots with human intelligence, and develop[ing miniature 'microbots' with integrated sensing and imaging for targeted therapy and treatment. We work closely with both industrial and academic partners in open platforms such as the DVRK, RAVEN and KUKA. The Centre also has the important mission of driving down costs associated with robotic surgery in order to make the technology more accessible, portable, and affordable. This will allow it to be fully integrated with normal surgical workflows so as to benefit a much wider patient population.

The Hamlyn Centre currently chairs the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network. The mission of the Network is to to provide academic leadership in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), expand collaboration with industry and integrate and coordinate activities across the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded RAS capital facilities and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs).


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  • Conference paper
    Grammatikopoulou M, Leibrandt K, Yang G-Z, 2016,

    Motor Channelling for Safe and Effective Dynamic Constraints in Minimally Invasive Surgery

    , IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 4317-4323
  • Conference paper
    Leibrandt K, Bergeles C, Yang G-Z, 2015,

    On-line collision-free inverse kinematics with frictional active constraints for effective control of unstable concentric tube robots

    , IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 3797-3804, ISSN: 2153-0858

    Concentric tube robots are catheter-sized robots that are ideally suited for navigating along natural anatomical pathways and treating deep-seated pathologies. Their telemanipulation in dynamic environments requires on-line computation of inverse kinematics with simultaneous avoidance of anatomical obstacles. Moreover, unstable configurations, which arise for elongated curved robots that navigate extremely tortuous paths, must be avoided. To achieve on-line computations, existing work has investigated Jacobian approximations and configuration-space precomputation. This paper leverages the state-of-the-art multi-core computer architectures to deliver real-time local inverse kinematics solutions using the established concentric tube robot mechanics models while avoiding both instabilities and anatomical collisions. Furthermore, it considers frictional active constraints for concentric tube robots, i.e. viscoelastic force fields that guide the operator away from obstacles and towards safe configurations. The value of the proposed framework is demonstrated on realistic clinical scenarios.

  • Conference paper
    Gras G, Marcus HJ, Payne CJ, Pratt P, Yang GZet al., 2015,

    Visual Force Feedback for Hand-Held Microsurgical Instruments

    , Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, ISSN: 0302-9743
  • Journal article
    Pettitt C, Liu J, Kwasnicki R, Yang G, Preston T, Frost Get al., 2015,

    A pilot study to determine whether using a lightweight, wearable micro-camera improves dietary assessment accuracy and offers information on macronutrients and eating rate.

    , British Journal of Nutrition, Vol: 115, Pages: 160-167, ISSN: 1475-2662

    A major limitation in nutritional science is the lack of understanding of the nutritional intake of free living people. There is an inverse relationship between accuracy of reporting of energy intake by all current nutritional methodologies and body weight. In this pilot study we aim to explore whether using a novel lightweight, wearable micro-camera improves accuracy of dietary intake assessment. Doubly-labelled water (DLW) was used to estimate energy expenditure and intake over a 14-day period over which time participants (n = 6) completed a food diary and wore a micro-camera on 2 of the days. Comparisons were made between the estimated energy intake from reported food diary alone and together with the images from the micro-camera recordings. There was an average daily deficit of 3912kJ using food diaries to estimate energy intake compared to estimated energy expenditure from DLW (p=0.0118) representing an under-reporting rate of 34%. Analysis of food diaries alone showed a significant deficit in estimated daily energy intake compared to estimated intake from food diary analysis with images from the micro-camera recordings (405kJ). Use of the micro-camera images in conjunction with food diaries improves the accuracy of dietary assessment and provides valuable information on macronutrient intake and eating rate. There is a need to develop this recording technique to remove user and assessor bias.

  • Journal article
    Patel N, Seneci CA, Shang J, Leibrandt K, Yang G-Z, Darzi A, Teare Jet al., 2015,

    Evaluation of a novel flexible snake robot for endoluminal surgery

    , SURGICAL ENDOSCOPY AND OTHER INTERVENTIONAL TECHNIQUES, Vol: 29, Pages: 3349-3355, ISSN: 0930-2794

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