A Paced Shared-Control Teleoperated Architecture for Supervised Automation of Multilateral Surgical Tasks


Automation of repetitive tasks can improve laparoscopic surgical procedures by unloading surgeons and reducing duration, trauma, and expense. However, surgical procedures involve delicate manipulation of deformable tissues in a very dynamic environment, suggesting that automated execution of surgical tasks should be carried out under the supervision of the surgeon. We propose a teleoperated architecture that allows a surgeon to employ and supervise agents that can autonomously perform or assist with surgical tasks. The architecture is independent of the automation method. It includes a dominance factor that allows the surgeon to take control over the slave robot at any time, and an aggressiveness factor that sets the performance pace of the autonomous agent. We tested the architecture during execution of a multilateral tension-and-cut task, where a human operator and an autonomous agent are responsible for tensioning or cutting of a tissue. The architecture allowed for supervised and paced automation of the task. We found that collaboration of the human operator and autonomous agent can lead to shorter completion time compared to performance of only a human.

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems