2) Surgical Robot Teleoperation

Plugfest 2009: Global interoperability in telerobotics and telemedicine*

*Organized by H. King and B. Hannaford from Biobobotics lab, University of Washigton

Abstract — Despite the great diversity of teleoperator designs and applications, their underlying control systems have many similarities. These similarities can be exploited to enable interoperability between heterogeneous systems. We have developed a network data specification that can be used for Internet based control of a wide range of teleoperators. In this work we explore Internet based interoperable telerobotics, focusing on the telesurgery application domain. Fourteen globally dispersed telerobotic master and slave systems were connected in thirty trials in one twenty four hour period. Users performed common manipulation tasks to demonstrate effective master-slave operation. With twenty eight (93%) successful, unique connections the results show a high potential for standardizing telerobotic operation. Furthermore, new paradigms for telesurgical operation and training are presented, including a networked surgery trainer and exoskeleton control of micro-manipulators.


  • H. Hawkeye King, Blake Hannaford, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA (BRL)
  • Levi Miller, Daniel Glozman, Jacob Rosen, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA (UCSC)
  • Thomas Low, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, USA (SRI)
  • Ka-Wai Kwok, Guang-Zhong Yang, Imperial College London, London, UK (ICL)
  • Paul Griffiths, Allison Okamura, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA (JHU)
  • Ildar Farkhatdinov, Jee-Hwan Ryu, Korea University of Technology and Education, Cheonan, Korea (KUT)
  • Ganesh Sankaranarayanan, Venkata Arikatla, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA (RPI)
  • Kotaro Tadano, Kenji Kawashima, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama, Japan (TIT)
  • Angelika Peer, Thomas Schauß, Martin Buss, Technische Universitat Munchen, Munich, Germany (MUT)

Using a new software protocol called the Interoperable Telesurgical Protocol (ITP), nine research teams from universities and research institutes around the world recently collaborated on the first successful demonstration of multiple biomedical robots operated from different locations in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The new protocol was developed to standardize the way remotely operated robots are managed over the Internet. The protocol will allow engineers and designers that usually develop technologies independently, to work collaboratively, determine which designs work best, encourage widespread adoption of the new communications protocol, and help robotics research to evolve more rapidly. Early adoption of this protocol internationally will encourage robotic systems to be developed with interoperability in mind, and avoid future incompatibilities.

Several universities and research labs took part in the PLUGFEST 2009 event (July 30), where the different locations connected to each other through the new protocol to perform surgical robotic tasks, such as the peg transfer from FLS.

Slave Robotic Systems. (A) TUM general purpose Telerobot. (B) Patient-side robot of the JHU custom version of the da Vinci. (C) TokyoTech IBIS IV surgical robot. (D) RPI VBLaSTTM. (E) SRI M7 surgical robot. (F) UW Raven surgical

Master Robotic Systems (A, B, C) Phantom Omni control station with free software at RPI, ICL and UW respectively. (D) TUM ViSHaRD7. (E) UCSC Exoskeleton. (F) Phantom Premium with custom software at KUT. (G) Master console of the JHU custom version of the da Vinci. (H) TokyoTech delta master.


  • H. King, B. Hannaford, K. W. Kwok, G-Z. Yang, P. Griffiths, A. M. Okamura, I. Farkhatdinov, J-H. Ryu, G. Sankaranarayanan, V. S. Arikatla, K. Tadano, K. Kawashima, A. Peer, T. Schauß, M. Buss, L. M. Miller, D. Glozman, J. Rosen, T. Low, “Plugfest 2009: Global Interoperability in Telerobotics and Telemedicine,” Proc. of IEEE ICRA 2010, Alaska, USA. PDF

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