Smith predictor-based robot control for ultrasound-guided teleoperated beating-heart surgery

Bowthorpe M, Tavakoli M, Becher H, Howe R

IEEE J Biomed Health Inform 2014 Jan;18(1):157-66

PMID: 24403413


Performing surgery on fast-moving heart structures while the heart is freely beating is next to impossible. Nevertheless, the ability to do this would greatly benefit patients. By controlling a teleoperated robot to continuously follow the heart’s motion, the heart can be made to appear stationary. The surgeon will then be able to operate on a seemingly stationary heart when in reality it is freely beating. The heart’s motion is measured from ultrasound images and thus involves a non-negligible delay due to image acquisition and processing, estimated to be 150┬áms that, if not compensated for, can cause the teleoperated robot’s end-effector (i.e., the surgical tool) to collide with and puncture the heart. This research proposes the use of a Smith predictor to compensate for this time delay in calculating the reference position for the teleoperated robot. The results suggest that heart motion tracking is improved as the introduction of the Smith predictor significantly decreases the mean absolute error, which is the error in making the distance between the robot’s end-effector and the heart follow the surgeon’s motion, and the mean integrated square error.