Prof. Robert Webster, Vanderbilt University
Robert J. Webster III received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Clemson University in 2002, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 2004 and 2007. In 2008 he joined the mechanical engineering faculty of Vanderbilt University, where he currently directs the Medical & Electromechanical Design (MED) Laboratory. He is also a member of the steering committee for the Vanderbilt Initiative in Surgery and Engineering which brings together physicians and engineers to solve challenging clinical problems. Prof. Webster's research interests include surgical robotics, medical device design, image-guided surgery, and continuum robotics. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award and an IEEE Volz award for PhD thesis impact on the field of robotics. 

Transurethral, Transbronchi, and Transtissue: New Flexible Access Surgeries Enabled by Concentric Tube Robots
Concentric tube robots are one of the thinnest flexible surgical robots available, which makes them a powerful tool in the armamentarium of surgeons and engineers as they partner to combat challenging diseases. In addition to the transnasal and transvascular approaches that have been most well studied to date, concentric tube robots are poised to enable novel procedures in the prostate, lung, and brain, among other organs. This talk will review our recent progress on creating multi-arm systems that can be delivered through endoscope ports, forming tube sets that can act like steerable needles, and creating image-guided surgery systems that make use of the unique capabilities of concentric tube robots. 

Relevant Publications

[1] J. Burgner, D. C. Rucker, H. B. Gilbert, P. J. Swaney, P. T. Russell III, K. D. Weaver, and R. J. Webster III, "A Telerobotic System for Transnasal Surgery," IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics. (In press, available on IEEE Xplore).

[2] J. Burgner, P. J. Swaney, R. A. Lathrop, K. D. Weaver, and R. J. Webster III, "Debulking From Within: A Robotic Steerable Cannula for Intracerebral Hemorrhage Evacuation," IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 60(9), 2567-2575, 2013.

[3] H. B. Gilbert, D. C. Rucker, and R. J. Webster III, "Concentric Tube Robots: The State of the Art and Future Directions," 16th International Symposium of Robotics Research, 2013. (To appear in Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics).

[4] D. C. Rucker, B. A. Jones, and R. J. Webster III, "A Geometrically Exact Model for Externally Loaded Concentric Tube Continuum Robots," IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 26(5), 769-780, 2010.
[5] R. J. Webster III and B. A. Jones, "Design and Kinematic Modeling of Constant Curvature Continuum Robots: A Review," International Journal of Robotics Research, 29(13), 1661-1683, 2010.