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World’s First Surgical Assist Robot with Sense-Of-Force Capability Improves Precision and Safety

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 19 Oct 2023
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Image: The Saroa Surgical System can reproduce the sense-of-force tactile sensation (Photo courtesy of Riverfield)
Image: The Saroa Surgical System can reproduce the sense-of-force tactile sensation (Photo courtesy of Riverfield)

Conventional surgical assist robots are constrained by their dependence on visual data from cameras, which can limit the capabilities of surgeons. Now, a surgical assist robot with a force feedback function could help both surgeons and assistant surgeons achieve their full potential.

Riverfield Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) is developing a surgical assist robot that reproduces the "sense of force". Riverfield’s Saroa Surgical System is the world’s first surgical assist robot to successfully reproduce the sense-of-force tactile sensation by utilizing pneumatic pressure to drive its robotic forceps. The pneumatic system's precision control technology delivers the necessary sense of force crucial for complex surgical tasks like gripping, holding, and pulling. The surgical assist robot converts the “three force senses” gathered from the forceps into electrical signals. These signals are then directly fed back to the operating handle, enabling the surgeon performing surgery to feel the sense of force.

What sets the Saroa Surgical System apart from conventional surgical robots is its ability to give the surgeon the feeling of operating directly with their own hands, thereby enhancing their accuracy of delicate surgical moves. The use of pneumatic systems is also cost-effective because it enables force feedback without the need for a separate force sensor. Though these systems are generally complicated with numerous components and are tough to manage, the Saroa Surgical System is equipped with a state-of-the-art operating system. This OS enables real-time processing with a consistent sub-microsecond response time, allowing for the rapid and precise control of pneumatic forces and other high-speed applications.

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