Project CISOBOT Auto-Guided

Auto-guided surgical robot for minimally invasive solo-surgery

Funding Organization: Ministerio de Ciencia e innovación. CICYT

Reference: DPI2007-62257

Participants: Universidad de Málaga

Period: From 01/10/2007 to 31/12/2010

Main Researcher: Víctor Fernando Muñoz Martínez

System Abilities






Mechatronic Configuration


Start-up Configuration. The configuration files, or the mechatronic configuration can be altered by the user prior to each task in order to customize the robot system in advance of each cycle of operation.




Task sequence control. The system is able to execute sub-tasks autonomously. On completion of the sub-task user interaction is required to select the next sub-task resulting in a sequence of actions that make up a completed task.

Human-Robot Feedback


Vision data feedback. The system feedbacks visual information about the state of the operating environment around the robot based on data captured locally at the robot. The user must interpret this visual imagery to assess the state of the robot or its environment.

Human-Robot Safety


Basic Safety. The robot operates with a basic level of safety appropriate to the task. Maintaining safe operation may depend on the operator being able to stop operation or continuously enable the operating cycle. The maintenance of this level of safety does not depend on software.




Fail Safe. The robot design is such that there are fail safe mechanisms built into the system that will halt the operation of the robot and place it into a safe mode when failures are detected. This includes any failures caused by in-field updates. Dependability is reduced to the ability to fail safely in a proportion of failure modes. Fail safe dependability relies on being able to detect failure.




Position constrained path motion. The robot carries out predefined moves in sequence where each motion is controlled to ensure position and/or speed goals are satisfied within some error bound.




Simple pick and place.  The robot is able to grasp any object at a known pre-defined location using a single predefined grasp action. The robot is then able to move or orient the object and finally un-grasp it. The robot may also use its Motion Ability to move the object in a particular pattern or to a particular location. Grasping uses open-loop control.

Holding company


Simple holding of known object. The robot retains the object as long as no external perturbation of the object occurs.



Simple release. The robot is able to release an object at a known pre-defined location, but the resulting orientation of the object is unknown. The object should not be prematurely released.


This proposal aims to tackle the solo-surgery problem through an autonomous robotic system provided with two arms capable of performing autoguided movements. One will be in charge of the laparoscopic camera’s guidance, and another will be used to handle an additional tool. This way, in those interventions where both a main surgeon and an assistant are required, this latter is expected to be substituted thanks to the support of these two arms. This aim will be applied to certain laparoscopic surgery procedures in which the possibility of executing specific manoeuvres in an autonomous mode will be identified by means of sources of sensory feedback. It does not consist of following the line of the robotic telesurgery systems where the robot is the only one in contact with the patient. It is expected that the robot collaborates with the surgeon, who will be present at the operating room and in contact with the patient. The communication between the robot and the surgeon will be directly developed through interfaces which do not interfere in the surgeon’s routine tasks during the intervention. Such tasks are the use of speech recognition combined with the gestures that the surgeon performs with the tools used in the intervention, and which are registered through the laparoscopic camera.

To achieve this, this project will deal with: the development of modelling techniques of a set of interventions for minimally invasive surgery with the purpose of identifying the manoeuvres that the mentioned robotic assistant can perform; the study of the precise point positioning techniques of the surgical tools which are adapted to different configurations of the robotic arm’s wrists; the strategies of human-machine motion coordination necessary to automate the identified tasks; and the whole integration in a two –arms robotic system in which particular emphasis will be placed on the safety-related aspects. It is expected to carry out a series of in-vitro experiments in order to verify the total work performed.

Proposed goals and achievements

1. Establish the tasks that a robotic system equipped with two arms can perform in a self-guided or semi-autoguided manner. 

They will be performed in conjunction with the surgeon, and in a selected set of minimally invasive surgery interventions.

Achievements achieved:

    • In-vitro intervention protocols have been modeled using stochastic models. These include the sequence of maneuvers of a protocol and a description of these first ones based on the basic actions that compose them.
    • Through the study of interventions, maneuvers related to helping the resection of the gallbladder, transporting material such as gauze inside the abdomen and cleaning the optics without removing it have been considered to evaluate the robot.

2. Design of algorithms for self-guiding of surgical instruments

It will focus on laparoscopic surgery procedures that interact with the surgeon.

Achievements achieved:

    • Design and implementation of movement control algorithms for surgical instruments based on motorized and non-motorized wrists. Both schemes have been analyzed from theoretical and practical points of view. Likewise, a procedure for guiding surgical instruments by the robot has been developed to transport material inside the abdomen. This procedure has been put into practice in the developed robot prototype.

 3. Define and implement a fault-tolerant architecture

This will be used for the integration of technologies developed in the field of task automation in a two-armed robotic assistant.

Achievements achieved:

    • An open real-time architecture has been defined to house the control of robot movements. This allows the rapid development of new algorithms and methodologies on the three levels of control considered: articular, spherical and self-guiding. Each level deals with the exceptions that occur, highlighting the supervisor made to diagnose failure situations that may occur with the tool that interacts with the body.

 4. Measure and evaluate the efficiency of the robotic system

It will be carried out by carrying out a series of in-vitro experiments.

Achievements achieved:

    • Through the participation of surgeons, the multi-modal interface and the self-guided movements of the demonstrator have been mainly evaluated. Regarding the first aspect, it has been studied that the level of command recognition increases with respect to the solo use of a voice recognizer. Regarding self-guided movements, the collaboration of the surgeon with the robot was studied, as well as the detection of failure situations.

Main Results