07 Jan 2021   |   Network Updates   |   Update from University of Twente
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University of Twente professor awarded ERC grant to advance robotic surgery with novel magnetic system

Prof. Dr. Sarthak Misra of the University of Twente has been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept grant titled – RAMSES (Robust Actuation through Magnetism for Safe Endovascular Surgery). It is Prof. Misra’s fourth ERC grant. RAMSES follows from the results of his ERC Starting grant ROBOTAR. Within RAMSES, the researchers from the Surgical Robotics Laboratory (SRL) will develop a system for magnetically-actuated robotic surgery.

Robotic technologies are increasingly more prevalent within the field of minimally invasive surgery (MIS), helping clinicians to treat the patients quickly, precisely, and with minimal complications. Over the years, SRL has developed several robotic technologies targeting an array of procedures within MIS. A prominent research line within SRL explores magnetism to provide actuation for flexible surgical instruments and microrobots, which are employed in endovascular surgery. Magnetic flexible instruments offer a more dextrous and precise alternative to the conventional ones that are operated manually or tendon-driven. In the last decade, the researchers from SRL have designed and tested a range of novel magnetic catheters, which aim either at enhancing the currently-used surgical protocols, or provide platforms for completely new surgical tasks, which are unattainable otherwise.

Flexible instruments include guidewires, tubes, needles, endoscopes, or catheters (commonly sharing a similar structure to continuum manipulators). These instruments are specifically designed for procedures during MIS, and used to treat problems affecting the vasculature or heart. These instruments are inserted into the body through a small incision, typically above the femoral artery vein found near the groin. Embedding such instruments with magnetic components would allow for manipulation inside the human body. Magnetic flexible instruments are designed to be reliable, as they depend on external fields generated by equipment placed outside of the body of the patient. The goal of RAMSES is to integrate a versatile system that can serve as auxiliary infrastructure for a vast range of procedures utilizing magnetic flexible instruments. 

Prof. Dr. Sarthak Misra is with the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at UT and leads SRL. He is also a professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen. SRL receives generous financial support from NWO, TTW, ZonMW, Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and EU Commission (Horizon 2020).

This article was first published on 7 January by University of Twente.

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