A Comparative Study for Telerobotic Surgery Using Free Hand Gestures

Tian Zhou, Maria Eugenia Cabrera, Thomas Low, Chandru Sundaram, Juan Wachs


This research presents an exploratory study among touch-based and touchless interfaces selected to teleoperate a highly dexterous surgical robot. The possibility of incorporating touchless interfaces into the surgical arena may provide surgeons with the ability to engage in telerobotic surgery similarly as if they were operating with their bare hands. On the other hand, precision and sensibility may be lost. To explore the advantages and drawbacks of these modalities, five interfaces were selected to send navigational commands to the Taurus robot in the system: Omega, Hydra, and a keyboard. The first represented touch-based, while Leap Motion and Kinect were selected as touchless interfaces. Three experimental designs were selected to test the system, based on standardized surgically related tasks and clinically relevant performance metrics measured to evaluate the user’s performance, learning rates, control stability, and interaction naturalness. The current work provides a benchmark and validation framework for the comparison of these two groups of interfaces and discusses their potential for current and future adoption in the surgical setting.


Human-robot interaction, teleoperation, touchless gestures, robot-assisted surgery, sensory substitution

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5898/JHRI.5.2.Zhou


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