This National Robotics Initiative (NRI 2.0) project will develop a collaborative robot (co-robot) system that will enhance the ability of expert physicians to coach trainees to achieve expert-like performance in complex emergency medical procedures. The system will consist of wearable sensors, tactile actuators, and a robotic device that promotes two-way physical collaboration between the mentor and trainee. The project's three aims are: (1) to develop methods to transform trainee kinematic and kinetic information into meaningful feedback to the expert mentor; (2) to optimize haptic guidance cues about proper tool manipulation technique from the expert to the novice trainee; and (3) to assess the effectiveness of the collaborative training system through human-user studies. The project will promote the progress of science and advance the national health by accelerating the development and use of collaborative robotic systems in healthcare settings, The tele-mentoring aspect of this project may also enhance the national defense by developing systems that can train life-saving skills in remote environments where expert surgeons may not be available. The project also supports education and broadens participation in engineering through support for elective courses promoting biomedical innovation and healthcare technology development and through workshops focused on medical simulation and education.

The goal of this project is to develop a customizable haptic co-robot that enables a remote expert surgeon to coach a remote trainee to achieve expert-like performance in complex emergency medical tasks that depend critically on the sense of touch. The project has three aims. The first develops hardware and software methods to transform real-time trainee kinematic and kinetic performance data into intuitive haptic cues for the mentor. The second develops analogous haptic cues for the trainee based on guidance from the expert about proper tool use kinematics and kinetics. The third uses human-user studies to assess the collaborative training robot ability to enhance the learning and retention of three intraoperative surgical skills (needle insertion, chest tube placement, and suturing). If successful, this project will lay the groundwork for more effective and ubiquitous co-robotic training of complex manual skills.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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University of Texas at Dallas
United States
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