Robot-assisted endoscope guidance

Automatic camera guidance at work
Laparoscopic instrument with color marker
During manual laparoscopic interventions, the surgeon does not have direct visual control of the operating field as in open surgery, but orientates himself by the laparoscopic image displayed on a monitor. It is the task of an assistant to guide the laparoscope such that the field of view is optimal for the surgeon. This task is exhausting and requires high concentration. Even small movements such as tremor upon fatigue or wrong orientation due to misunderstandings disturb the operating procedure. The necessary instructions to the assistant distract the surgeon.

To solve these problems, a robot-based, autonomous laparoscopic guidance system for manual minimal invasive surgery was developed . A robot holds the laparoscope and aligns itself with the surgical instruments autonomously. The robot is guided by a color marker, which is placed near the tool tip of the instrument.The color of the marker is chosen such that it cannot be mistaken for colors present in the abdominal area. The camera is guided by smooth compensation movements for an arbitrarily long time and releases the surgeon from the task of instructing the assistant, or even from operating the system via input media such as speech or foot pedals. This promising approach has been already tested with success in manual minimal invasive surgery interventions.


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Dr.-Ing. Klaus Arbter
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics
, Robotic Systems
Tel: +49 8153 28-2460

Fax: +49 8153 28-1134

Martin Gröger
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics
, Perception and Cognition
Tel: +49 8153 28-2411

Fax: +49 8153 28-1134

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