Kuka is showcasing an innovative research project from the medical sector at the European Robotics Forum (ERF) in Tampere, Finland, this week.
Together with the University of Bremen and Chemnitz University of Technology, FACT Software and CAT Production, Kuka is presenting an application for the simulation of one of the most challenging steps during an operation: implanting an artificial hip.
Performing the operation in the virtual world with haptic feedback via the Kuka LBR iiwa lightweight robot is an important component in the training of future surgeons as well as in the planning stages prior to an operation.
In the simulation, presented at the ERF for the first time, the surgeon must cut the socket of a hip joint, which is difficult to teach and learn during training since this cutting requires a great deal of force and must simultaneously be carried out with great precision.
Beyond this, the area to be worked on is difficult to see, with the result that operators must rely on their own perception of forces.
This is where the Kuka LBR iiwa can display its strengths: it provides the trainee with haptic feedback in order to develop a feel for forces and cutting limits. In the simulation, the required actions can be practised as often as necessary.
“Medical simulations like these can provide a very realistic feeling and thus offer optimal possibilities for training – particularly for tasks which require repeated practice or the simulation of a difficult operation,” says Dr Rainer Bischoff, head of Kuka corporate research.
“The exhibit is a perfect match for the European Robotics Forum – where the community discusses how robotics can help with the most important challenges facing society.”