Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

European Initiatives

Collaborations in European Programs, Except FP7 & H2020

  • Program: FEDER

  • Project acronym: COMOROS

  • Project title: Control of deformable robots for surgery

  • Duration april 2017 to march 2020 (in two phases)

  • Coordinator: C. Duriez

  • Abstract: Surgical procedures are often carried out using instruments made of stiff materials that interact with delicate biological tissues such as internal organs, blood vessel walls and small cavities. This incompatibility of stiffness is one of the sources of danger in many surgical procedures. The use of robots made of soft materials, also called soft robots, would limit such risks by reducing contact pressures and stress concentrations. Their intrinsic deformability would also increase the ability to manoeuvre in confined spaces. However, the promising concept of using soft robots for surgical procedures cannot be practically implemented, due to the lack of precise modelling and control methods for soft robots. This scientific obstacle, identified as a pending issue by major surveys in this field, becomes particularly challenging when interacting with an environment as complex as the human anatomy. Drawing on our background in soft tissue simulation, contact models, surgical applications and soft robotics, our ambition in this project is to:

    • Develop accurate and generic numerical methods for continuum mechanics, adapted to strong real-time constraints in order to demonstrate the ability to model soft mechatronics systems.

    • Reconsider parametrization methodologies of digital models of the patient anatomy through the observation of mechanical interactions with soft robots via embedded sensors and medical imaging.

    • Rethink motion generation and teleoperation control with force feedback so as to be compatible with the large number of degrees of freedom of soft robots and be based on accurate, rapidly-computed deformable models and interaction models.

    The project also targets the development of software with the required performance and features, as well as the experimental validation of models and methods using prototypes in realistic environments.

Collaborations with Major European Organizations

  • Université Libre Brussels, Pr. Terwagne, Pr.Massar and Mr Tillema

  • Artificial Intelligence Algorithms for the control of soft robots, based on the simulation (associated north-european team 2016-2017)

  • University of Luxembourg: Pr Bordas

  • Model order reduction and topological changes (journal in 2013 & submission of a proposal in 2017)

  • King’s college: Pr Liu

  • Robotic catheter navigation and control and soft surgcial robotics (conference publication at IROS in 2017)