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Prof. Pierre E. Dupont, Boston Children Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Pierre E. Dupont is Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering and holder of the Edward P. Marram Chair at Boston Childrenís Hospital. His research group develops robotic instrumentation and imaging technology for minimally invasive surgery. He received the BS, MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA. After graduation, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. He subsequently moved to Boston University, Boston, MA, USA where he was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. His group has received a number of paper awards including the King-Sun Fu Best Paper Award of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics in 2010 and the IEEE ICRA Best Medical Robotics Paper Award in 2012. He is an IEEE Fellow who has served in many capacities with the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.
 
Contact: robotics.tch.harvard.edu 

Exteroceptive and Proprioceptive Sensing for Co-robotic Control of Surgical Continuum Robots
Continuum robots provide the potential to perform interventions with substantially less trauma compared to current robotic technologies employing straight rigid instrument shafts. The 3D curvature and flexibility of continuum robots that bestow this advantage, however, substantially complicate the clinicianís task of controlling robot-tissue interaction Ė not only at the robotís tip, but along its entire length. Co-robotic controllers that automatically adjust tissue contact forces and compensate for robot deflection can improve safety and enhance performance while enabling the clinician to focus on the task being performed at the robotís tip. A major challenge, though, is that sensing technology has not kept pace with developments in continuum robot design. To address this, we have been exploring concepts for creating exteroceptive sensor arrays to measure tissue contact, pressure or force. These are embodied as robot fingertips and as thin elastic skins covering the robotís surface. We have also been exploring proprioceptive sensors to measure 3D robot shape. In this talk, I will share our clinical motivations for this work, describe our progress and outline the challenges ahead.

Relevant Publications
[1] Vasilyev N, Gosline A, Butler E, Lang N, Codd P, Yamauchi H, Feins E, Folk C, Cohen A, Chen R, del Nido P, Dupont P. Percutaneous Steerable Robotic Tool Delivery Platform and Metal MEMS Device for Tissue Manipulation and Approximation: Initial Experience with Closure of Patent Foramen Ovale. Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions 2013;6:468-475.
 
[2] Codd P, Arabagi V, Gosline A, Dupont P. Design and Initial Characterization of a Novel Pressure-Sensing Skin for Detecting Impending Tissue Damage during Neuroendoscopy. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics 2014;13(1):114-121.

[3] Gosline A, Vasilyev N, Veeramani A, Wu MT, Schmitz G, Chen R, Arabagi V, del Nido P, Dupont P. Metal MEMS Tools for Beating-heart Tissue Removal. Conf Proc IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2012:1921-1936.

[4] Arabagi V, Gosline A, Wood R, Dupont P. Simultaneous Soft Sensing of Contact Orientation and Force for Millimeter-scale Medical Robots. Conf Proc IEEE Int. Conf. Robotics and Automation 2013:4381-4387.

[5] Ryu S, Dupont P. FBG-based Shape Sensing Tubes for Continuum Robots. IEEE Int. Conf. Robotics and Automation 2014. (in press)

[6] Kim B, Ha J, Park F, Dupont P. Optimizing Curvature Sensor Placement for Fast, Accurate Shape Sensing of Continuum Robots. IEEE Int. Conf. Robotics and Automation 2014. (in press)