Vibro-acoustic sensing for enhanced robotic pedicle screw placement

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 07 Oct 2021

This PhD opening fits in the FAROS –project on Functionally Accurate RObotic Surgery, aiming at improving functional accuracy through embedding physical intelligence in surgical robotics.

Robotics is widely considered as a key enabler to improve and standardize patient outcome but autonomy is mostly non-existent in commercial surgical robots. Modern robotic approaches target absolute geometric precision, but in the context of surgery, functional accuracy, i.e. relative to target anatomic and functional structures, is what matters. FAROS will construct a functional representation of the surgical task fusing key non-visual sensing, using machine learning to interpret intraoperative data.

Vibro-acoustics is one key non-visual sensing method, using vibrational and acoustic information. Vibro-acoustics already has shown its merits in the assessment of fixation of orthopaedic and dental implants. This PhD project aims at developing a vibro-acoustic method to detect imminent bone breach during robotic pedicle screw placement. Moreover, it will be investigated whether vibro-acoustic data can predict the quality of the bone tissue, predicting the possible fixation of pedicle screws. To this end, different probabilistic models can be derived each with their own predictive power. The validity and predictive power of the most promising models will be verified experimentally. Sensor fusion can be applied to elevate the confidence, accuracy and robustness of the parameter estimates.

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