Human-robot shared control, which integrates the advantages of both humans and robots, is an effective approach to facilitate efficient surgical operation. Learning from demonstration (LfD) techniques can be used to automate some of the surgical subtasks for the construction of the shared control mechanism. However, a sufficient amount of data is required for the robot to learn the manoeuvres. Using a surgical simulator to collect data is a less resource-demanding approach. With sim-to-real adaptation, the manoeuvres learned from a simulator can be transferred to a physical robot. To this end, we propose a sim-to-real adaptation method to construct a human-robot shared control framework for robotic surgery. In this paper, a desired trajectory is generated from a simulator using LfD method, while dynamic motion primitives (DMP) is used to transfer the desired trajectory from the simulator to the physical robotic platform. Moreover, a role adaptation mechanism is developed such that the robot can adjust its role according to the surgical operation contexts predicted by a neural network model. The effectiveness of the proposed framework is validated on the da Vinci Research Kit (dVRK). Results of the user studies indicated that with the adaptive human-robot shared control framework, the path length of the remote controller, the total clutching number and the task completion time can be reduced significantly. The proposed method outperformed the traditional manual control via teleoperation.
Robotic-assisted surgery is now well-established in clinical practice and has become the gold standard clinical treatment option for several clinical indications. The field of robotic-assisted surgery is expected to grow substantially in the next decade with a range of new robotic devices emerging to address unmet clinical needs across different specialities. A vibrant surgical robotics research community is pivotal for conceptualizing such new systems as well as for developing and training the engineers and scientists to translate them into practice. The da Vinci Research Kit (dVRK), an academic and industry collaborative effort to re-purpose decommissioned da Vinci surgical systems (Intuitive Surgical Inc, CA, USA) as a research platform for surgical robotics research, has been a key initiative for addressing a barrier to entry for new research groups in surgical robotics. In this paper, we present an extensive review of the publications that have been facilitated by the dVRK over the past decade. We classify research efforts into different categories and outline some of the major challenges and needs for the robotics community to maintain this initiative and build upon it.