Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Biomedical Engineering


Ana Luisa Trejos

2nd Supervisor

Rajnikant Patel

Joint Supervisor


Robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery (RAMIS) is becoming increasingly more common for many surgical procedures. These minimally invasive techniques offer the benefit of reduced patient recovery time, mortality and scarring compared to traditional open surgery. Teleoperated procedures have the added advantage of increased visualization, and enhanced accuracy for the surgeon through tremor filtering and scaling down hand motions. There are however still limitations in these techniques preventing the widespread growth of the technology. In RAMIS, the surgeon is limited in their movement by the operating console or master device, and the cost of robotic surgery is often too high to justify for many procedures. Sterility issues arise as well, as the surgeon must be in contact with the master device, preventing a smooth transition between traditional and robotic modes of surgery.

This thesis outlines the design and analysis of a novel method of interaction with the da Vinci Surgical Robot. Using the da Vinci Research Kit (DVRK), an open source research platform for the da Vinci robot, an interface was developed for controlling the robotic arms with the Leap Motion Controller. This small device uses infrared LEDs and two cameras to detect the 3D positions of the hand and fingers. This data from the hands is mapped to the da Vinci surgical tools in real time, providing the surgeon with an intuitive method of controlling the instruments. An analysis of the tracking workspace is provided, to give a solution to occlusion issues. Multiple sensors are fused together in order to increase the range of trackable motion over a single sensor. Additional work involves replacing the current viewing screen with a virtual reality (VR) headset (Oculus Rift), to provide the surgeon with a stereoscopic 3D view of the surgical site without the need for a large monitor. The headset also provides the user with a more intuitive and natural method of positioning the camera during surgery, using the natural motions of the head. The large master console of the da Vinci system has been replaced with an inexpensive vision based tracking system, and VR headset, allowing the surgeon to operate the da Vinci Surgical Robot with more natural movements for the user. A preliminary evaluation of the system is provided, with recommendations for future work.