Surgical Robots to Provide Open-Source Platform for Medical Robotics Research
UW News (WA) (01/12/12) Hannah Hickey
University of Washington researchers have developed Raven, a robot with wing-like arms that will be sent to seven campuses across the U.S. and form the basis of the first common research platform for developing surgical robots. "With everyone working on the same, open source platform we can more easily share new developments and innovations," says Washington professor Blake Hannaford. The researchers are making Raven's software work with the Robot Operating System, a popular open source robotics code, so groups can easily connect the Raven to other devices. "Each lab will start with an identical, fully operational system, but they can change the hardware and software and share new developments and algorithms, while retaining intellectual property rights for their own innovations," says University of California, Santa Cruz professor Jacob Rosen. The latest version of Raven has more compact electronics and dexterous hands that can hold surgical tools. "Researchers and funding agencies are tired of one-off robots--they want to pursue projects that use standardized platforms," Hannaford says. "This is where the field is going."