Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Dr. Ilia Polushin, Dr. Rajni Patel


Robot-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgical (RAMIS) systems frequently have a structure of cooperative teleoperator systems where multiple master-slave pairs are used to collaboratively execute a task. Although multiple studies indicate that haptic feedback improves the realism of tool-tissue interaction to the surgeon and leads to better performance for surgical procedures, current telesurgical systems typically do not provide force feedback, mainly because of the inherent stability issues. The research presented in this thesis is directed towards the development of control algorithms for force reflecting cooperative surgical teleoperator systems with improved stability and transparency characteristics. In the case of cooperative force reflecting teleoperation over networks, conventional passivity based approaches may have limited applicability due to potentially non-passive slave-slave interactions and irregular communication delays imposed by the network. In this thesis, an alternative small gain framework for the design of cooperative network-based force reflecting teleoperator systems is developed. Using the small gain framework, control algorithms for cooperative force-reflecting teleoperator systems are designed that guarantee stability in the presence of multiple network-induced communication constraints. Furthermore, the design conservatism typically associated with the small-gain approach is eliminated by using the Projection-Based Force Reflection (PBFR) algorithms. Stability results are established for networked cooperative teleoperator systems under different types of force reflection algorithms in the presence of irregular communication delays. The proposed control approach is consequently implemented on a dual-arm (two masters/two slaves) robotic MIS testbed. The testbed consists of two Haptic Wand devices as masters and two PA10-7C robots as the slave manipulators equipped with da Vinci laparoscopic surgical instruments. The performance of the proposed control approach is evaluated in three different cooperative surgical tasks, which are knot tightening, pegboard transfer, and object manipulation. The experimental results obtained indicate that the PBFR algorithms demonstrate statistically significant performance improvement in comparison with the conventional direct force reflection algorithms. One possible shortcoming of using PBFR algorithms is that implementation of these algorithms may lead to attenuation of the high-frequency component of the contact force which is important, in particular, for haptic perception of stiff surfaces. In this thesis, a solution to this problem is proposed which is based on the idea of separating the different frequency bands in the force reflection signal and consequently applying the projection-based principle to the low-frequency component, while reflecting the high-frequency component directly. The experimental results demonstrate that substantial improvement in transient fidelity of the force feedback is achieved using the proposed method without negative effects on the stability of the system.