Medical Robotics

Our Focus

We focus on mechatronic systems for human-machine interactions. Some of the main applications are in the biomedical field, especially in surgery.

Within this vast domain, we are especially interested in haptic interaction of humans and robotic manipulators. Haptics is the sense of touch; we understand haptics in its rich multimodal dimension: Force feedback, texture rendering, temperature and ergonomics.

Our main domain of expertise is in mechatronics, i.e. the optimal integration of mechanics, electronics, automatic control and computer science (e.g. Virtual Reality). In the context of mechatronics, we keep some of our former domains of activity in magnetic device and MRI-compatible equipment, especially MRI compatible actuators (e.g. electrostatic).

Our international collaborations include Japan (The University of Tokyo, ATR among others), the US (Duke University), Italy (Scuola Superiore Santa Anna) and many European partners through strong participation in two FP-7 projects (ARAKNES and SAFROS). We also particularly cherish industrial cooperation, both with established companies and start-ups. Our lab has played a seminal role in several spin-off companies (Xitact, Virtamed, Maestro-heart).

Parallel surgical manipulators

Contact: Jeremy Olivier

Input devices for tele-operation

Contact: Elahe Abdi

Robotic Surgery


Robotic surgery, telemanipulators with haptic feedback and instruments for minimally-invasive intervention are domains of intense activity and high growth potential in the near future. These areas bring us into close contact with surgeons and hospitals, an exciting opportunity for open-minded and skilled engineering professionals.

We take now new approachs to develop surgical robots and computer assisted tools for safety in two FP-7 projects:


Medical Instrumentation

Maestro-AF catheters provide an easy-to-use, faster, safer and readily accessible therapy to treat Atrial fibrillation which is the most common arrhythmia accounting for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.

The key idea of Maestro-AF is to eliminate the major limitations of the current techniques with the help of a magnetically coupled second catheter called “Escorting catheter”. This permits better mechanical control of catheter motions resulting in a continuous ablation lines. Moreover, since temperature can now be measured at the escorting catheter from the other side of the tissue, we can guaranty transmural ablation.
These 2 ideas are unique to Maestro-AF and have been patented.

Surgical Simulators with Haptic Feedback

Virtual reality (VR) based surgery simulators provide an elegant way of training complex minimally-invasive procedures. Like in a flight simulator, the surgeon interacts with a VR scene on the screen while manipulating the surgical instrument.  The haptic device provides tracking of the surgical instrument displacement and renders the virtual forces at the tool handle.

Our lab has expertise on mechatronics design and control of haptic interfaces. An overview of the haptic interfaces developed in our lab is provided here: 

MR Compatible Robot Technology

/webdav/site/lsro/shared/MEDICAL/MEDICAL_ATRfMRI.jpgMRI/fMRI has established itself as standard diagnostics and advanced brain research tool. We have developed MR-Compatible Robotics technology consisting of actuators, and sensors safe to work with in the vicinity of an MRI scanner and smooth enough to interact with human motion. The haptic interfaces we have realized are currently used by neuroscientists in Japan, Italy, Switzerland and UK to investigate the brain mechanisms of manipulation and motor learning.

Smart Surgical-Assist Devices

/webdav/site/lsro/shared/MEDICAL/MEDICAL_forcesens.jpgSmart surgical-assist devices can be used for measurements during an intervention and thus provide valuable additional information while the surgeon maintains full control. Such devices can as well be considered as an extension to the surgeon’s eye and hand.

One example is the force-sensing device to intraoperatively measure knee joint forces and moments during total knee arthroplasty. More information on the project and on the comparative study showing the benefit of this approach is provided here.