University of Verona (UNIVR) was founded 30 years ago, giving autonomy to a spin-off of the University of Padua. According to “The Times Higher Education World University Rankings” University of Verona is among the 400 best universities in the world. Verona gets the best results in “Citations”, “International Outlook” and “Industry Income”. According to the 2016 ranking of Italian universities, the University of Verona is the best university in Italy. The survey was based on indicators both of education and research.
Within the Faculty of Sciences, the Department of Computer Science was started in 2001, and it counts about 50 Faculty members, and about one thousand students. It offers graduate degrees in theoretical computer science, multi-media, embedded systems and bio and medical informatics. In 2016 the Italian Ministry for Education (MIUR) rated the Department of Computer Science of the University of Verona among the first 5 best places in Italy were to learn and apply innovation in Computer Science.
Within the Department of Computer Science, the research described in this proposal will be carried out at ALTAIR Robotics Laboratory (http://metropolis.sci.univr.it), which has a decade long history of research on autonomous and tele-operated systems for service and bio-inspired robotic systems. ALTAIR laboratory employs a staff of about 20 people, including 4 professors, 4 post-doc, 6 PhD students, and several students carrying out their BS or MS theses. In the past several years, the research in ALTAIR has focused on robotic surgery addressing the specific areas of organ modelling and fast computational algorithms for haptics, high performance software architectures and control algorithms for tele-surgery, and advanced simulation environments for robotic surgery planning and training. Of particular interest are the aspects of patient safety and system modularity in which ALTAIR was coordinating two European projects. The new area of security in service robotics is stemming from the collaboration between several groups in the Department of Computer Science.
UNIVERSITY OF MODENA AND REGGIO EMILIA (UNIMORE)
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia is organized on a ”site network” model embracing the cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), in close cooperation with surrounding economical clusters (more than 300 companies, most of them in the area of mechatronics, logistic and automotive in one of the richest economic area in Italy). UNIMORE will participate to the project through the Department of Sciences and Methods of Engineering. The Department includes different competencies and research groups, in particular the Automation Robotics and Systems Control (ARSControl) Group. The mission of the ARSControl group is the design of control architecture for automation and the control of complex robotic systems as groups of mobile robots, teleoperation systems and surgical robots. Prof. Cristian Secchi and Prof. Cesare Fantuzzi are part of this group.It participated and coordinated several national and European project. In particular, it participated to the FP7 project I-SUR (Intelligent Surgical Robotics, 2010-2014), where it worked on the teleoperation and control of interaction during automatic surgical operations. It is participating to the H2020 project SYMPLEXITY (Symbiotic Human-Robot Solutions for Complex Surface Finishing operations), where it works human robot interaction and teleoperation for natural programming of industrial robots and on the H2020 project IMPROVE (Innovative Modelling Approaches for Production Systems to Raise Validatable Efficiency), where it works on the optimization of the performance of a production system considering human capabilities. It coordinated the experiment TRAFCON (Traffic Control of AGVs in automatic warehouses, 2010-2012) funded by the FP7 ECHORD project, where it worked on the coordinate navigation of AGVs, and the experiment TIREBOT (A Tire Workshop Robotic Assistant), funded by the FP7 ECHORD++ project, where it worked on the design, control and teleoperation of an assistant robot cooperating with an operator in tire workshops. It also participated to the FP7 project PAN-ROBOTS (plug and navigate robots for smart factories, 2012-2016), where it worked on improving the flexibility of AGVs in automatic warehouses. Furthermore, it participated to and coordinated several technical applied research projects directly funded by private companies, especially in the area of cooperative robotics and mobile robotics for industrial applications.
The University of Ferrara was founded in 1391 and is currently composed of twelve Departments: Architecture; Humanities; Life Science and Biotechnology; Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science; Biomedical and Surgical Science; Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine; Medical Science; Engineering; Physics and Earth Science; Law; Management and Economics; Mathematics and Informatics. UNIFE participated in 37 projects (8 of which in the ICT theme) funded by the European Union within FP7. In FP6 the University of Ferrara was involved in 17 projects in the different specific programmes, 4 of which were in the Thematic Priority “Information Society Technologies”.
The research group of the University of Ferrara participating in SARAS involves people from the Department of Engineering (ENDIF). The Department has a permanent staff of sixty faculties that participated to 6 projects within FP7. Another major source of funding for ENDIF is the industrial research and technology transfer, as demonstrated by a total of 2M€ received from SME in 2012/2013. In particular, the Automatic Control research group of ENDIF promotes research on: Formal verification of objectoriented models for industrial automation systems and automatic PLC code generation; Motion planning and control of robotic systems; Sensorless control of electrical drives; Fault Diagnosis and Isolation (FDI) and Fault Tolerant Control (FTC).
The group has been involved in several research projects funded by: the European Union, within the FP7 programme; the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) within the PRIN programme in 2002, 2005 and 2007; international organizations (EADS-Astrium, ESA) and private companies (VM Motors Spa, Tetra Pak Packaging Solutions, CT Pack, Elau Systems, CNI Informatica).
The Automatic Control research group of ENDIF (University of Ferrara) will be involved mainly in the design and implementation of motion planning algorithms for multiple arms operating in a dynamic environment. The research group will also participate to the specification and implementation of robotic task supervision and to the integration between high-level (i.e. motion planning, teleoperation, coordination) and low-level (position/velocity/current loops of electrical drives) control software for the robotic systems involved in the SARAS expected setup.
The Automatic Control research group of ENDIF is experienced in robot control design and software development thanks to its participation to both academic and industrial research projects. In particular, the group was involved as a Third Party in the FP7 project I-SUR, primarily contributing to the WP5 “Control of the surgical actions” with the development of a collision-free motion planner for multi-arm robots, a logicbased task supervision framework and interconnection software components to integrate the high-level planning and control architecture with the control hardware developed by the ETH Zurich partner of I-SUR. The group has also supported industrial activities of different SME developing automatic machines and robots, within research projects funded by the Emilia-Romagna Italian region, for tasks like Human-Machine Interface design, robot kinematics analysis and trajectory planning, PLC-based control system implementation.
OSR is a private Institution, recognized by the Italian Ministry of Health as a Research Hospital (IRCCS). It comprises both clinical and research activities, conducted by a highly specialized and qualified hospital with 1308 beds and a research institute with around 1800 basic, clinical and translational scientists. The premises also host the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University which comprises the faculties of medicine, psychology and philosophy and provides specialized post graduate courses, residency programs in various medical specialties, and international PhD programs. OSR performs cutting-edge science and aims at advancing the knowledge about human diseases and novel therapies through translational research. OSR can count on 15 Clinical Areas, 4 Research Divisions, 4 Research Institutes and 3 Research Centers. Supporting bench-to-bedside research is the vision of OSR.
For the SARAS Project, OSR will involve:
- the Advanced Technology in Health & Wellbeing,
- the Urology Unit
- the Urological Research Institute (URI)
The Advanced Technology in Health & Wellbeing is a research center of the OSR whose mission is to design, develop and demonstrate the ethical, scientific, economic and technological feasibility of innovative personalized services aiming at promoting well-being and informed choices in daily life. The center aims at lowering the invisible cultural, organizational, economic and environmental barriers that hamper stakeholders’ effort towards healthier, greener and fairer behaviours in everyday life, both for Individuals and business/social actors.
The Urological Research Institute holds unique opportunities to address and investigate a variety of aspects of urogenital disorders (epidemiological, genetic, molecular, cellular, physiological, pharmacological, clinical) of immediate relevance for the individual patient as well as healthcare system of the community. An important aim of the research program is to produce an inspiring scientific environment that unifies clinical research and basic science in urology and urological pharmacology. Urology Unit and URI host experienced staff in robotic-assisted surgical procedures, as main surgeon and/or assistant as well; they will play a key role in the analysis of the selected use cases, the definition of the requirements for the robotic systems in terms of clinical reliability and risk mitigation, and finally for the experimental tests and validation campaign of the developed technology.
The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech is a public institution dedicated to higher education and research, specialized in the fields of engineering, architecture and science. As a leading member of international networks of excellence, the UPC has a privileged relationship with global scientific and educational organizations. The research group on Intelligent Robots and Systems, of the Department of Automatic control and Computer Engineering, focuses its research mainly in medical robotics: rehabilitation, assistive and surgical robotics. Besides the scientific work, the research group has strong ties with industry, hospitals having created several spin-offs, two of them related to surgical robotics. This group has a long experience in the research on surgical robotics, having developed a first robotic application for automatic guidance of a laparoscopic camera in 1995. Since then, the research in surgical robotics has focused on the development of control strategies for assisted teleoperation, including comanipulation, and for multirobot cooperation. The research in multirobot cooperation has two main goals, safety, having developed a Robotic Proximity Query Library, RPQ, and a control strategy for automatic task allocation for an efficient cooperation in task oriented teleoperation. This research provides a strong background for the main contribution of the research team in SARAS. For this research, an experimental robotic platform based on four robotic arms is available for development and evaluation of new autonomous and teleoperated operations. The current research in simulating and training in laparoscopic surgery also provides experience in quantitative evaluation of surgical procedures in a realistic scenario. The work developed in this area has led to the development of a surgical robotic trainer prototype, Hystrainer, to be commercialized soon through a spin-off created on December 2015.
The University of Dundee Institute for Medical Science and Technology is an interdisciplinary institute for future Medical Technologies positioned at the interface of Physics, Engineering with Clinical and Life Sciences. The Institute brings engineers, physicists, mathematicians and life scientists together with clinicians, health service providers, and corporate partners for R&D in: diagnostic & therapeutic imaging including MRI, ultrasound and photonic techniques; drug delivery, minimally invasive surgery, nanotechnologies.
IMSaT is ISO 13485 certified and houses laboratory and workshop space adjacent to an imaging facility with 1.5 TMRI system with an integrated surgical suite and a dedicated cadaver preparation facility. In 8 years IMSaT has gained research funding <€35M on surgical technologies, micro robotics and MRgFUS-mediated targeted drug delivery (www.nanoporation.eu), tissue motion in focused ultrasound (www.fusimo.eu), and methods to integrate new, minimal access surgery techniques, image-guided interventions (www.IIIOS.eu) and several other UK grants funding <80 researchers.
Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK is consistently recognised as the top modern university in the United Kingdom. The Department of Computing and Communication Technologies comprises some 23 academic staff, including world leaders such as Prof David Duce (Chair of Eurographics 03, 06) and Rachel Harrison, Editor in Chief of Software Quality Journal, and associate members such as Oxford Professor Philip H.S. Torr. The Department was recently enriched by rising young researchers such as Dr Fridolin Wild, head of the Performance Augmentation lab, and Dr Matthias Wolf. The AI and Vision group is arguably the most active research group of the Department, working in close collaboration with Oxford’s Torr Vision Group and Professor Nigel Crook’s Cognitive Robotics group.
Medineering, headquartered in Munich, develops, manufactures and markets a modular robotic portfolio, establishing new ways in minimally invasive surgery. The portfolio consists of an intelligent holding arm and small application-specific robotic hands assisting surgeons in anatomically complex working spaces.
Medineering was founded in June 2014 by Dr. Maximilian Krinninger and Dr. Stephan Nowatschin. The startup has grown rapidly and the young and international team consists of highly specialized robotic engineers, marketing experts and regulatory specialists.
Since 2010 ACMIT Gmbh (partly under their former company name “Integrated Microsystems Austria GmbH”) is operating a competence center for medical technology development (Austrian Center for Medical Innovation and Technology), dealing with development of new medical technology in the area of minimally invasive procedures. ACMIT’s mission statement can be defined as follows:
- Application oriented research and development, with the overall goal to bring developments to their real use in clinical context. Technologies developed in the framework of ACMIT should contribute to make surgery safer and more efficient.
- Identification and realisation of new tools and procedures in the area of medical technology by cooperative research together with international renowned top researchers using an extensive network of scientific partners.
- Establishing an internationally visible research and development center by partnering with international players in medical technology.
Among the three ACMIT research areas, there are two areas which are specifically dealing with the topics addressed by the present project proposal: Research Area RA1 “Instruments and Robotics” and area RA3 “Work-Flow Optimization and Skill Transfer”. The involved team at ACMIT has more than 15 years of experience in the research area of Medical Robotics – in particular addressing the translation of scientific results into stable, robust as well as practicable solutions. Previous (and ongoing) projects in this area include the development of a robotic platform for needle based percutaneous interventions (B-Rob/iSYS1), a robotic system for minimally-invasive autopsy procedure (VIRTOPSY/ VIRTOBOT), and the development of a robot system for eye-surgery (H2020 project “EurEyeCase”).
Beside of their strong network of research and company partners (with more than 25 company partners and about 30 scientific partners in the area of medical technology development worldwide), ACMIT is strongly connected to national and international research initiatives (IFAC, ISCAS, CURAC, SMIT, etc.) and also has rich experience in international joint research.
Third parties involved in the project:
The Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele was founded in 1996 and since its beginning has been characterized by the integration of education with basic research and clinical activities and is located in San Raffaele Biomedical Research Campus. The Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (UniSR) comprises the faculties of medicine, psychology and philosophy and provides specialized post graduate courses, residency programs in various medical specialties, and international PhD programs.
The Vita-Salute San Raffaele University runs top-scored graduate and post-graduate programs in Medicine and Biotechnology as well as advanced research in these fields through an Agreement with Ospedale San Raffaele, OSR. USR has a specific mission for the education and training of physician scientists with the vision of translational researchbased on the concept that only continuous research can provide a better medicine for the patients.
Fondazione Centro San Raffaele (FCSR) is a non-profit entity which supports scientific research conducted at Ospedale San Raffaele (OSR) to improve knowledge about diseases, identify new therapies and help young scientists and doctors grow professionally. FCSR and OSR focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying many diseases. The main research areas supported by the foundation are:
- cardiovascular diseases
- neurodegenerative diseases
- genetic diseases
- infectious diseases