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).


BibTex format

author = {Barbot, A and Power, M and Seichepine, F and Yang, G-Z},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.aba5660},
journal = {Science Advances},
title = {Liquid seal for compact micro-piston actuation at capillary tip},
url = {},
volume = {6},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Actuators at the tip of a sub-millimetric catheter could facilitatein vivointer-ventional procedures at cellular scales by enabling tissue biopsy, manipulationor supporting active micro-optics. However the dominance of frictional forcesat this scale makes classical mechanism problematic. In this paper, we reportthe design of a micro-scale piston, with a maximum dimension of 150μm,fabricated with two-photon lithography onto the tip of 140μm diameter cap-illaries. An oil drop method is used to create a seal between the piston andthe cylinder which prevents any leakage below 185 mbar pressure differencewhile providing lubricated friction between moving parts. This piston gener-ates forces that increase linearly with pressure up to 130μN without breakingthe liquid seal. The practical value of the design is demonstrated with its inte-gration with a micro-gripper that can grasp, move and release 50μm micro-spheres. Such a mechanism opens the way to micron-size catheter actuation.
AU - Barbot,A
AU - Power,M
AU - Seichepine,F
AU - Yang,G-Z
DO - 10.1126/sciadv.aba5660
PY - 2020///
SN - 2375-2548
TI - Liquid seal for compact micro-piston actuation at capillary tip
T2 - Science Advances
UR -
UR -
VL - 6
ER -