UCLA School of Medicine and Computer Motion Inc. win $2 million federal award to collaborate on development of world's first telemedicine surgical training system

UCLAs School of Medicine and Computer Motion Inc., the worlds leading developer of surgical robotic systems, announced Nov. 1 that they have agreed to collaborate. The collaboration will be funded with a $2 million research-and-development grant from the National Institute of Standards Advanced Technology Program 2001 competition.

Computer Motion, UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Ranjan Mukherjee of Michigan State University and Dr. Steven Butner of UC Santa Barbara will work together to combine surgical robotic systems with telemedicine to allow highly skilled surgeons to closely guide surgeons-in-training through complex, minimally invasive surgical procedures.

The proposed training system is based on the integration of four of Computer Motions FDA-cleared robotic surgical systems and features Zeus, which is a robotic system for minimally invasive microsurgical procedures. The system will be modified to include two identical surgeon consoles with shared control of a single set of arms that are used to operate on the patient.

Other significant developments to the system will include haptic feedback so that surgeons-in-training can actually feel their mentors actions through the console controls and experience surgery through the hands of an expert. In September, doctors using a non-FDA cleared, specially modified Zeus system performed the worlds first transatlantic telesurgery. The system was used by a surgeon operating from a console in New York to remove the gallbladder of a patient located in France.

This could be the worlds first tele-collaborative surgical system. We hope to develop a program that mimics a flight simulator to help train future surgeons, said Dr. E. Carmack Holmes, professor and chairman of the department of surgery at UCLA. The collaboration with Computer Motion and our partner universities will extend the reach of the pioneers of minimally invasive surgery here at UCLA, across the nation, and around the globe.<

Contact: Rachel Champeau
University of California - Los Angeles

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