PROJECTS

CIGITI – a nexus of clinicians, engineers, scientists and business people working together to create a new paradigm of delivering medical care to children and adults. This unique open-source research facility is developing innovative technologies in robotics, ultrasound, simulation, training and healthcare.

Magnetic Resonance (MR) Guided Robotics

MR imaging provides exquisite high resolution soft tissue images but due to the high magnetic field strength there are limits to the tools that can be used. We have developed the Pediatric Surgical Robot (PSR) – a modular MR-guided robotic system for performing bone biopsy. The system allows the interventional radiologist to image and treat the patient simultaneously without interrupting the workflow while increasing accuracy.

The PSR is a re-configurable MR-compatible robot with up to 6 degrees of freedom and an interchangeable tool head. The tool head can be used to hold a variety of tool such as bone biopsy needles, soft tissue needles and probes

 

Magnetic Resonance (MR) Guided Robotics

MR imaging provides exquisite high resolution soft tissue images but due to the high magnetic field strength there are limits to the tools that can be used. We have developed the Pediatric Surgical Robot (PSR) – a modular MR-guided robotic system for performing bone biopsy. The system allows the interventional radiologist to image and treat the patient simultaneously without interrupting the workflow while increasing accuracy.

The PSR is a re-configurable MR-compatible robot with up to 6 degrees of freedom and an interchangeable tool head. The tool head can be used to hold a variety of tool such as bone biopsy needles, soft tissue needles and probes

 

NOADS

 

NOADS represents a novel approach to natural orifice surgery. The full suite of NOADS tools developed at CIGITI allows a selection of complete surgeries to be performed without ever creating an entry-point incision in the patient, allowing for quicker patient recovery, and less time spent in the operating room.

 

Our goal is now to automate some of the NOADS tools to allow surgeries to be completed with less manpower.

Craniofacial Modeling

 

Congenital cranial dysmorphology in infants requires surgical reconstruction in order to restore a more normal shape, which is often determined subjectively by surgeons.  The work of CIGITI in craniofacial modeling has thus far included the generation of a library of normative pediatric skulls using computational techniques, from which guiding templates have also been fabricated for use in the operating room.  These lead to a more standardized, objective, and precise correction of craniofacial malformations, resulting in better outcomes as well as decreased operation times.  

 

CIGITI is also developing methods to use 3D photogrammetry for the accurate prediction of cranial shape.  This alleviates the need for multiple follow-up computed tomography (CT) scans which expose patients to X-ray radiation and could also provide the basis for a future craniofacial diagnostic tool.

Minimally Invasive Robotics Tools for Neurosurgery

 

We are developing a bi-manual robotic surgical system called MIEM (Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Manipulator) that allows neurosurgeons to operate through a standard burr hole entry to the brain. MIEM will enable neurosurgeons to transform open procedures in to minimally invasive approaches which will reduce patient trauma without sacrificing dexterity and control.

The system will be initially used to treat neurological disorders such as hydrocephalus, epilepsy and brain tumors. Other applications include ENT and thoriac surgery. This project consists of two independent concentric tube robotic tools with tool tips.

 

"Smart" Surgical Tools

Surgery follows a traditional apprenticeship model with a “see one, do one, teach one” philosophy which is dependent on the soft metrics. Our goal is create technology to provide non-intrusive methods to quantitatively measure various parameters (force, distance, tissue oxygenation) and provide real-time feedback to the surgeons. We have created “smart” tools by integrating lightweight flexible sensors on to standard surgical tools couple with wireless data transmission.

 

An example of this work is the “force skin” – a thin PCB with sensors that is attached to the rod of the surgical tool paired with data transceiver.

Focused Ultrasound

 

MR-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a noninvasive technology that enables physicians to thermally and mechanically modify tissues without making an incision. The principle therapeutic technique underlying MR-HIFU is the noninvasive focusing of ultrasound energy in a target volume as small as a rice kernel. We have partnered with Philips Healthcare to explore where HIFU can be best applied to paediatric and foetal medicine.

 

Brain application - This project uses of focused ultrasound to generate cavitation-based therapy known as histotripsy to mechanically break up tissue and perform thrombolysis

 

Bone application – We are studying how to model and simulate the thermal activity of focused ultrasound on healthy and cancerous bone as a method to optimize treatment. 

 

Fetal application – Focused ultrasound provides an opportunity for clinicians to study and treat congenital fetal conditions to improve the outcomes. 

Phantom Modeling

 

Surgical training has moved beyond the "see one, do one, teach one" paradigm to incorporate simulation, providing an offline platform to learn and master skills on prior to working on a patient. This allows trainees to work in a low-risk environment, where errors will not result in morbidity and mortality. CIGITI has made use of 3D printing technology to create novel training tools that model a number of surgical procedures.

 

Our models are created by segmenting the relevant anatomical structures from images such as MRI and CT scans, then either 3D printing them or using specialized software to develop molds that are cast with tissue mimicking material. We are able to match tactile and imaging properties, and create aesthetically realistic phantoms.

 

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