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
    Kim JA, Wales DJ, Thompson AJ, Yang G-Zet al., 2019,

    Towards development of fibre-optic surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy probes using 2-photon polymerisation for rapid detection of bacteria

    , Plasmonics in Biology and Medicine XVI, Publisher: SPIE, ISSN: 0277-786X

    In this study, a variety of direct laser written surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) micro-structures, designed for bacteria detection, are presented. Various SERS micro-structures were designed to achieve both a high density of plasmonic hot spots and a strong probability of interaction between the hot spots and the target bacterial cells. Twophoton polymerization was used for initial fabrication of the polymeric skeletons of the SERS micro-structures, which were then coated with a 50 nm-thick gold layer via e-beam evaporation. The micro-structures were fabricated on glass coverslips and were assessed using a confocal Raman microscope. To this end, Rhodamine 6G was used as an analyte under 785 nm laser illumination. The optimal SERS micro-structures showed approximately 7×103 enhancement in Raman signal (analytical enhancement factor, AEF) at a wavenumber of 600 cm-1. Real-time detection of E. coli in solution was demonstrated using the fabricated SERS platform with low laser powers and a short acquisition time (785 nm, 5 mW, 50 ms).

  • Journal article
    Cameron SJS, Bodai Z, Temelkuran B, Perdones-Montero A, Bolt F, Burke A, Alexander-Hardiman K, Salzet M, Fournier I, Rebec M, Takáts Zet al., 2019,

    Utilisation of Ambient Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (ALDI-MS) improves lipid-based microbial species level identification

    , Scientific Reports, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2045-2322

    The accurate and timely identification of the causative organism of infection is important in ensuring the optimum treatment regimen is prescribed for a patient. Rapid evaporative ionisation mass spectrometry (REIMS), using electrical diathermy for the thermal disruption of a sample, has been shown to provide fast and accurate identification of microorganisms directly from culture. However, this method requires contact to be made between the REIMS probe and microbial biomass; resulting in the necessity to clean or replace the probes between analyses. Here, optimisation and utilisation of ambient laser desorption ionisation (ALDI) for improved speciation accuracy and analytical throughput is shown. Optimisation was completed on 15 isolates of Escherichia coli, showing 5 W in pulsatile mode produced the highest signal-to-noise ratio. These parameters were used in the analysis of 150 clinical isolates from ten microbial species, resulting in a speciation accuracy of 99.4% - higher than all previously reported REIMS modalities. Comparison of spectral data showed high levels of similarity between previously published electrical diathermy REIMS data. ALDI does not require contact to be made with the sample during analysis, meaning analytical throughput can be substantially improved, and further, increases the range of sample types which can be analysed in potential direct-from-sample pathogen detection.

  • Conference paper
    Dagnino G, Liu J, Abdelaziz M, Chi W, Riga C, Yang Get al., 2019,

    Haptic feedback and dynamic active constraints for robot-assisted endovascular catheterization

    , 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2018), Publisher: IEEE

    Robotic and computer assistance can bring significant benefits to endovascular procedures in terms of precision and stability, reduced radiation doses, improved comfort and access to difficult and tortuous anatomy.However,the design of current commercially available platforms tends to alter the natural bedside manipulation skills of the operator, so thatthe manually acquired experience and dexterityare not well utilized. Furthermore, most of these systems lackofhaptic feedback, preventing their acceptance and limiting the clinical usability.In this paper a new robotic platform for endovascular catheterization, the CathBot, is presented.It is an ergonomic master-slave system with navigation system and integrated vision-based haptic feedback, designed to maintain the natural bedside skills of the vascular surgeon. Unlike previous work reported in literature, dynamic motion tracking of both the vessel walls the catheter tip is incorporated to create dynamic activeconstraints. The system was evaluated through a combined quantitative and qualitative user study simulating catheterization tasks on a phantom. Forces exerted on the phantom were measured. The results showed a 70% decrease in mean force and 61% decrease in maximum force when force feedback is provided. This research provides the first integration of vision-based dynamic active constraints within an ergonomic robotic catheter manipulator. The technological advances presented here, demonstratesthat vision-based haptic feedback can improve the effectiveness, precision, and safety of robot-assisted endovascular procedures.

  • Conference paper
    Chi W, Liu J, Abdelaziz MEMK, Dagnino G, Riga C, Bicknell C, Yang G-Zet al., 2019,

    Trajectory Optimization of Robot-Assisted Endovascular Catheterization with Reinforcement Learning

    , 25th IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 3875-3881, ISSN: 2153-0858
  • Conference paper
    Zhou X-Y, Riga C, Lee S-L, Yang G-Zet al., 2019,

    Towards Automatic 3D Shape Instantiation for Deployed Stent Grafts: 2D Multiple-class and Class-imbalance Marker Segmentation with Equally-weighted Focal U-Net

    , 25th IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 1261-1267, ISSN: 2153-0858

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