The amount of medical robotics applications exponentially raised in the past few years (e.g. in surgery, rehabilitation, assistance to impaired persons). This field is a perfect framework to combine expertise from our centre (mechanical and electromechanical design, advanced control) and from clinicians. In that respect, we have ongoing collaborations with our institutional hospital, the "Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc".
In all these projects, we pay a particular attention to develop our solutions with a "patient-oriented perspective", i.e. by including a large amount of clinical validations with patients and clinicians/therapists in the design process.
Design and commercialization of upper limbs rehabilitation robots
- Written by Julien Sapin
Many areas of medicine perceive in the progress of robotics, data processing and in the field of multimedia, an opportunity of developing robotic assistance tools to improve the therapist working conditions and to provide more efficient and better care to patients.
Physical and rehabilitation medicine, being aware of the above scientific advancement, has developed upper limbs rehabilitation robots.
Based on this observation, the AXINESIS project aims to develop and commercialize upper limbs rehabilitation robots for stroke patients. These robotic assistance tools complete the standard therapy with exercises that the patient can manage alone.
Study, realization and validation of an active scope-holder for laparoscopic surgery - EVOLAP
- Written by Benoît Herman
Thirty years ago, the emergence of endoscopic technology opened up the way to minimal access surgery. This new approach strongly decreases the size of incisions and scars, reducing per- and post-operative traumatism and risk of infection. Advantages in terms of pain and esthetics played a large part in the quick expansion of laparoscopy in urology, gynecology and digestive surgery. But whereas this technique offers many advantages to the patient, it complicates surgical gestures. In particular, manual manipulation of the laparoscope poses many ergonomics problems. Our goal is to design a robotic scope-holder that allows the surgeon to teleoperate the laparoscope.
Starting from this initial demand, this thesis sets out to study laparoscopic surgery into detail, in collaboration with practitioners. Through the clarification of problems that they encounter, performance specifications are established. Subsequently, main choices of the robot's structure are layed down. Design of device's subsets follows a rational process until realization of a functional prototype. Particular attention is paid to general ergonomics of the system and its control interface. An experimental clinical trial ends this work and validates the principle of solution. We finally propose a few design improvements and a series of possible complementary studies and trials, and go back over objectives identified initially, in the light of results achieved and experience acquired in the course of this research.