ATLAS

ATLAS

ALTAIR research projects

ATLAS

AuTonomous intraLuminAl Surgery

 

Timing

Start 1 April  2019
End 31 May 2023

Granted by

Joint Doctoral Degree Program

ATLAS is a Marie Curie European Joint Doctorate school that targets the training of experts in a very specific branch of Robotic Surgery: Intraluminal Surgery

The project is coordinated by the University of Leuven and implemented by a consortium of seven Universities and many industrial partners, including the University of Verona.

About

ATLAS stands for “AuTonomous intraLuminAl Surgery”. Intraluminal navigation, a particularly challenging branch, reappears in many minimal invasive surgical (MIS) interventions that rely on steering flexible instruments through fragile lumens or vessels.

Project Objectives

The project will develop smart flexible robots that autonomously propel through complex deformable tubular structures. This calls for seamless integration of sensors, actuators, modeling and control. By engaging in this ambitious research topic, participants will be exposed to all aspects of robotics.

While contributing to the state of the art, they will become proficient in building, modeling, testing, interfacing in short in integrating basic building blocks into systems that display sophisticated behavior.

A Joint Doctoral Degree Program

A Joint doctorate is a doctoral path designed by two institutions. The Ph.D. fellow works towards a single unique doctoral thesis and will be awarded a joint diploma signed and stamped by both the institutions. Since ATLAS is an MSCA project, two institutions from different countries collaborate and design a joint doctoral degree for all the fellows involved. Fellows are required to conduct their doctoral research activities jointly supervised by two different academic universities. The MSCA project along with a joint doctoral degree provides an excellent international environment to collaborate and work towards a unified objective.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship and Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN)

MSCA are a set of major research fellowships created by the European Union/European Commission to support research in the European Research Area (ERA). Established in 1996 as Marie Curie Actions and known since 2014 as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, they aim to foster the career development and further training of researchers at all career stages.

MSCA fellowship is one of the most prestigious fellowships in all of Europe. An MSCA project generally consists of many partners both from the industry and academia from all over Europe which provides an international environment. Each MSC fellow has the requirement of following so-called “secondments” in the location of other project partners. “Secondment” requirement presents an MSC fellow an enjoyable opportunity to visit, learn, and collaborate with experts from other partnering institutions in the project.

Innovative training network (ITN)

ITN events are an integral part of all MSCA projects. These training events, organized periodically by different partnering organizations, are a fantastic forum for networking and explore collaboration possibilities with experts in your respective field. In addition, MSC fellows are required to convey the general knowledge of their research to a non-academic audience. Above all, the chance to work in a team of all the Ph.D. fellows of the project towards a common goal to solve one of the grand challenges is extremely interesting and exciting.

In my view, MSCA-ITN fellowship provides an exciting opportunity to excel in academic research in addition to exposure to industrial applications and business potential. I believe the fellowship would provide international exposure and a platform to interact with the leading researchers through facilitating conference and events mobility and connect to a network of peers interested in similar ideas.

Ameya Pore

ATLAS Fellow

ALTAS is a wonderful opportunity for me to contribute to research in surgical robotics and AI, and a chance to realize the output of my research by building an end-to-end solution. Additionally, MSCA-ITN fellowship with its reputation, international exposure, collaboration, and a very generous funding provides an amazing platform for academic excellence and overall development.
ATLAS Rocks!!!🤘

Sanat Ramesh

ATLAS Fellow

ALTAIR People involved

Diego Dall'Alba

Diego Dall'Alba

Assistant Professor

Ameya Pore

Ameya Pore

ATLAS Doctorate school

Sanat Ramesh

Sanat Ramesh

ATLAS Doctorate school

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Ortesi Robotica per arto superiore

Ortesi Robotica per arto superiore

ALTAIR research projects

Design of an emg-controlled upper limb robotic orthosis for muscular weakness

Progettazione di un’ortesi robotica per l’arto superiore con controllo mioelettrico e indirizzata a soggetti con debolezza muscolare

Finanziato da

Sostenuto da

Robotic technologies are extremely promising for assisting people with motor pathologies. Available robotic exoskeletons devices are designed only for neurorehabilitation therapy and not for daily assistance.

 

Thanks to recent advances in robotic technologies, related technological challenges can now be tackled more easily than in the past and without prohibitive costs. Therefore, this project is related to the design of low cost exoskeleton. The mechanical design implements gravity compensation by means of elastic elements to substantially reduce the motor requirements and the their cost (saving about 1500 euro per joint). The 3D-printed allows to include affordable force sensors (saving about 1000 euro per joint) and enables a patient-specific design. 

The project also includes advanced control modalities based on surface electromyography and force control technology aiming to inferring the wearer will of motion and to gently assist it. At present, we are actively working on these control algorithms which are under refinement.

 

Si stima che in Italia circa 700 mila persone (1,3% della popolazione) di età superiore a 6 anni presentino delle difficoltà nel movimento. La disabilità motoria presenta un costo economico e sociale importante che è destinato a crescere con l’invecchiamento della popolazione. 

 

Le tecnologie robotiche sono uno strumento estremamente promettente per l’assistenza delle persone affette da patologie croniche che causano una riduzione delle capacità motorie.

L’offerta commerciale attuale di dispositivi robotici si rivolge prevalentemente all’ambito neuroriabilitativo ma non esistono esoscheletri commerciali assistenziali, ovvero in grado di coadiuvare o sostituire le funzioni motorie per la vita indipendente.

Grazie ai progressi delle tecnologie robotiche queste sfide tecnologiche possono essere oggi affrontate più facilmente rispetto al passato e con costi non proibitivi. Il progetto ha visto la realizzazione di un esoscheletro con componenti in stampa 3d per adattarsi alle dimensioni dello specifico paziente. La progettazione meccanica ha considerato una particolare struttura con compensazione di gravità tramite molle per ridurre i requisiti motore e di conseguenza i relativi costi. In questo modo sono stati sufficienti motori di piccola taglia con un diametro paragonabile a quello di una moneta.

Il progetto ha visto anche l’investigazione di modalità di controllo avanzate basate sull’elettromiografia di superficie e sulle tecnologie di controllo della forza con l’obbiettivo di stimare la volontà di movimento ed assisterla delicatamente. Al momento stiamo lavorando attivamente su questi algoritmi di controllo che sono in fase di perfezionamento.

ALTAIR People involved

Andrea Calanca

Andrea Calanca

Assistant Professor

Davide Costanzi

Davide Costanzi

Research Assistant

Rafael Ferro Luzia

Rafael Ferro Luzia

Eldison Dimo

Eldison Dimo

Enrico Sartori

Enrico Sartori

Alumni 2019

Rudy Vicario

Rudy Vicario

Alumni 2021

Noè Murr

Noè Murr

Alumni 2021

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Forecast

Forecast

ALTAIR research projects

FORECAST 

Force control algorithm testbench

The FORECAST project focuses on benchmarking force control algorithms for robotic locomotion applications such as exoskeletons and humanoids. Force control algorithms allow robots to adapt their movements to the surrounding environment and to delicately (softly) interact with humans. This characteristic is fundamental in the increasingly frequent scenarios of collaboration between human and robot (eg rehabilitative or assistive robotics) or in the case of uncertain environments (eg disaster recovery).
As a result, tools will be developed to help robot designers choose the best force control algorithms and to define standardized metrics for their evaluation.

The FORECAST project is funded by the European Union, Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, through an Open Call issued by the EUROBENCH Project. 
The EUROBENCH project aims at creating the first benchmarking framework for robotic systems in Europe. 

The Forecast Ecosystem

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The Forecast modular mechanical setup to experimentally test force control algorithms.

The Forcast modular electronic interface based on EtherCat communication and a real-time control library running on a RT Linux machine.

Cost: about 1.000 euro, power electronics excluded.

A low-cost version of electronics based on embedded hard real-time control library. This will allow researcher across the world to affordably replicate the Forecast benchmarching system.

Cost: about 150 euro, power electronics excluded.

The Graphical User Interface to run our benchmarking experiments (low-cost version)

ALTAIR People involved

Andrea Calanca

Andrea Calanca

Assistant Professor

Eldison Dimo

Eldison Dimo

Rudy Vicario

Rudy Vicario

Alumni 2021

Noè Murr

Noè Murr

Alumni 2021

Guglielmo Zanni

Guglielmo Zanni

Research Assistant

Matteo Meneghetti

Matteo Meneghetti

Research Assistant

Enrico Sartori

Enrico Sartori

Alumni 2019

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PROST

PROST

ALTAIR research projects

PROST

Autonomous Prostate Biopsy Surgery

 

Timing

Start 1 December 2019
End 31 May 2021

Granted by

On 25th July 2019 PROST Project has been awarded the Proof of Concept (PoC) grant, by the European Research Council.

PROST project aims at the technical and commercial validation of an Autonomous Prostate Biopsy System that will use robotic autonomy to reduce human errors in prostate cancer diagnosis.

The grant will help us explore the commercial or societal potential of the ARS Project discoveries.

Paolo Fiorini

Project Coordinator, ALTAIR Robotics Lab founder and Director

About PROST

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, early diagnosis is key to improve patients’ therapeutic path and reduce the mortality rate.

The current diagnostic process is still affected by an error rate exceeding 30% due to the difficulty in identifying the location of the lesion and in manually aiming the biopsy gun.

The innovative diagnostic tool developed by PROST Project will allow the autonomous robotic execution of the biopsy: a new paradigm that will turn a subjective and operator-dependent procedure into a safer and more accurate procedure. Thanks to automated target identification and robotic pointing of the biopsy gun, the human error will be reduced, however, diagnostic decisions, will be left to the clinician.

PROST and ARS project

Because of its innovation potential the Project has been funded by the European Research Council with a Proof on Concept Grant – a particular grant that aims to help researchers explore the commercial or societal potential of their work.

The PROST project leverages the results of the on-going ERC-AdG project ARS (Autonomous Robotic Surgery) and the availability of a prototype of robot for prostate biopsy developed with a grant by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The introduction of PROST is expected to strongly reduce the wrong diagnosis by improving the accuracy in the execution of prostate biopsies, thus contributing to timely treatment and better patients’ prognosis. There will be also potential healthcare savings associated with the reduction of repeated biopsies, complications, and unnecessary surgical interventions.

PROST Team

Automation and Robotics Team

Paolo Fiorini. He is the PI of the PROST project, as well as of the ERC-ARS project that develops the technologies to be demonstrated in PROST. He has been working in robotics since 1985, and in the past 15 years he has been focusing on robot-assisted surgical procedures. Recently during the I-SUR project and currently with the ARS project, he has addressed robot autonomy.

Bogdan Maris. He is the technical manager of the PROST project. and a specialist in medical image processing and fusion. He will lead the development of the enhanced fusion algorithms to identify the biopsy targets in the echography images and the development of the PROST user interface.

Andrea Calanca. He has extensive expertise in high performance control system design, and he brings to the project his technical competence together with the ability to manage people and meet objectives.

 

Medical Team

Salvatore Micali. He is a leading urologist of the University of Modena-Reggio (Italy) who will be consulting with the project and will carry tests to demonstrate the improved accuracy of the biopsy performed with the PROST system.

Alessandro Tafuri. Surgeon and Urologist at the University of Verona AOUI – Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata.

Prokar Dasgupta. He is a leading urologist of King’s College in London (UK) who will be consulting with the project.

Business Team

Nicola Trevisan. He is an expert in fund raising and management of startup companies in the medical sector and he will bring to the project his contacts in the field and his expertise in the complex steps leading to the product certification.

Avi Aliman. He is an Israel-based consultant in medical devices and he brings to the project experience in developing surgical robots, funding start up medical device projects and a world-wide network of medical device professionals from regulatory field, health-economics and reimbursement specialists, to product marketing, business model development and fundraising.

Gianni Zucchini. He has a strong expertise in the management of high technology startups, in particular academic spin-offs, and he also brings to the project his wide network of contacts with technical professionals and marketing experts.

Final results

ALTAIR People involved

Bogdan Maris

Bogdan Maris

Assistant Professor

Chiara Tenga

Chiara Tenga

Research Assistant

Chiara Zandonà

Chiara Zandonà

Ph.D. Student

Michela De Piccoli

Michela De Piccoli

EU Project Manager

Luigi Palladino

Luigi Palladino

Research Assistant

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SARAS

SARAS

ALTAIR research projects

SARAS

 

Smart Autonomous Robotic Assistant Surgeon

Timing

Start  1  January 2018
End 31 December 2020

Granted by

SARAS aims at developing the next-generation of surgical robotic systems that will allow a single surgeon to execute Robotic Minimally Invasive Surgery (R-MIS) without the need of an expert assistant surgeon.

Currently, during laparoscopic or robotic assisted surgical procedures, several units of medical personnel are requested to stay in the operating room for supporting the main surgeon tele-operating the surgical robot. This practice  leads to an inefficient management of the hospitals’ economic resources and to unnecessary long waiting lists for pattiens

The goal of SARAS is to develop the next-generation of surgical robotic systems that will allow a single surgeon to execute Robotic Minimally Invasive Surgery (R-MIS) without the need of an expert assistant surgeon, thereby increasing the social and economic efficiency of a hospital while guaranteeing the same level of safety for patients.

The robot developed by the SARAS project will be called solo-surgery system and will consist of a pair of cooperating and autonomous robotic arms holding the surgical instruments.

ALTAIR People involved

Riccardo Muradore

Riccardo Muradore

Associate Professor

Francesco Setti

Francesco Setti

Assistant Professor

Giacomo De Rossi

Giacomo De Rossi

Research Assistant

Fabio Falezza

Fabio Falezza

Alumni 2021

Nicola Piccinelli

Nicola Piccinelli

Ph.D. Student

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