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Surgical Robotics Seminar: "Lifesaving Capsule Robots," Prof. Pietro Valdastri

Pietro Valdastri
April 10, 2015 - 11:00am to 11:50am
Building 200, Room 2

This seminar is open to the public. Students in ME 328 and CS/ME 571 are required to attend.

Seminar Topic: Lifesaving Capsule Robots

The talk will move from capsule robots for gastrointestinal endoscopy toward a new generation of surgical robots and devices, having a relevant reduction in invasiveness as the main driver for innovation. Wireless capsule endoscopy has already been extremely helpful for the diagnosis of diseases in the small intestine. Specific wireless capsule endoscopes have been proposed for colon inspection, but have never reached the diagnostic accuracy of standard colonoscopy. In the first part of the talk, we will discuss enabling technologies that have the potential to transform colonoscopy and gastroscopy. These technologies include magnetic manipulation of capsule endoscopes, water jet propulsion, real-time pose tracking, and intermagnetic force measurement. The second part of the talk will give an overview about the development of novel robotic solutions for single incision robotic surgery. In particular, a novel surgical robotic platform based on local magnetic actuation will be presented as a possible approach to further minimize access trauma. The final part of the talk will introduce an open source design environment for capsule robots that aims at facilitating researchers in the field in exploring novel concepts and reducing the time to achieve a functional prototype.

Speaker Bio

Pietro Valdastri graduated cum Laude in Electrical Engineering from University of Pisa in 2001 and received a PhD cum Laude in Biomedical Engineering from Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in 2006 with Paolo Dario as advisor. After spending three years as Assistant Professor at the BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, focusing on implantable medical devices and surgical robotics, in 2011 he moved his research to Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. He is currently Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, with secondary appointments in the Electrical Engineering Department and in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Valdastri is the founder and director of the Science and Technologies Of Robotics in Medicine (STORM) Lab and a Senior Member of IEEE. His current research — focusing on capsule robots for gastrointestinal endoscopy and abdominal surgery — is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Broad Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Dr. Valdastri is co-author of more than 65 peer-reviewed journal publications, co-inventor of more than 30 patents and patent applications, co-founder of a successful medical start-up (WinMedical,, and the recipient of several prestigious awards in the field of medical robotics, including the NSF CAREER Award in 2015, OLYMPUS Best Laparoscopy/Robotic Paper Award 2013, the OLYMPUS ISCAS Best Paper Award 2012, the ASME Design of Medical Devices Conference Best Paper Award 2012, the Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics Best Oral Presentation Award 2011, and the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery Best Technology Presentation Award 2011. Dr. Valdastri's research has been featured by main magazines in the field, including IEEE Spectrum, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Medgadget, Medical Design Technology Magazine, Medical Xpress, Newswise, NSF Science Now.

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