Title: Computer assisted surgery with 3d robot models and visualisation of the telesurgical action
Author: prof. Alberto Rovetta N. AF-5

R. Satava, Cybersurgery, Wiley-Liss, 1998

Support of virtual reality computer action in the procedures of surgical robotics. Computer support gives a direct representation of the surgical theatre. The modelization of the procedure in course and in development gives a psychological reaction towards safety and reliability.

The system is web-based, meaning that all the operator needs is a Vrml enabled web browser. No installation is necessary. The system is resident on a web server, which can also be connected to the robot PLC for telecontrol. When the user requests the web-app from the server it sees a welcome screen with two possible selections: Offline and Connect.
The first step is to train surgical staff in the use of the robot and of the tools on the end effector of the robot. In this case they press "Offline" and are presented with a 3D representation of the surgical scene in Vrml in the center and an optional video feed coming from the real operating room. The operator can move and zoom on the virtual robot from all the possible positions and show the results at the attending people. The control of the robot is simple, requiring only dragging with the mouse the components of the virtual robot; correct cinematic calculations are done by an applet connected to the Vrml events of the 3d scene.
The second step is the effective motion by telerobotics of the robot. It may used above all for ambulatory action in this release, because the action is performed by mouse on the degrees of freedom of the robot. After clicking on "Connect" the user is prompted by a login screen, used for security reasons; connection for maximum security can be done by reliable protocols. At this point the web server has finished its work; the login data is sent to the robot server and, if correct, the connection between the client and the robot server is established. The screen is identical to the one of the offline mode except for a button "Move", which sends the current robot configuration to the server, which in turn moves the robot accordingly.
The configuration of the real robot is seen in the video screen.

The teletraining action is very efficient because the program shows with virtual reality methodologies the surgical field from every point of view. In the same time, TV cameras give the real action of the surgery intervention. The system is modular and may be applied to different robots and surgical tools, all with a friendly and easy to use interface. All testers had no difficulty in using the interface, being interaction friction-free and based almost solely on direct interaction with the virtual robot model. Being web-based, the program needs no installation on the client computer, making teleconsulting [NKB1] easy, fast, and effective.

Future possible developments
The virtual reality simulation, the Internet possibilities, the ISDN quick actions, the satellite networks actions may be combined to present a valid support to teletraining for surgical robotics and to intervention in ambulatory phase for surgical action at distance.