Robotic-assisted Cochlear Implant Surgery
Cochlear implant surgery allows surgeons to restore partial hearing to patients suffering from severe hearing loss due to damaged neuroepithelial (hair) cells. During this surgery surgeons insert long, thin, and flimsy electrodes into the scala tympani inside cochlea.
ARMA has developed with NSF funding since 2006 a robotic system to help surgeons achieve atraumatic cochlear implant surgery using novel steerable cochlear implant electrode arrays. This NSF funded and recently industry funded research focuses on path planning for robotic-assisted insertion of steerable electrode arrays into 3D cavities (scala tympani) using partial force feedback information. Insertion experiments in preliminary research are achieved using two Degrees of Freedom (DoF) robotic system and four DoF robotic system. For the 2 DoF system, one actuation is used for insertion, the other one is for the steering of the electrode array. In the 4 DoF system, besides steering the electrode array, in-plane movement and rotation are achieved. ARMA has been working since 2010 with industry funding to adapt these new insertion algorithms for existing commercially available systems.This video shows hybrid admittance and position control for robot-assisted insertion of cochlear implant electrode arrays. The robot uses real-time force measurements to adapt a pre-operative electrode array insertion plan: