Kiyoyuki Chinzei Lecture

5 November 2019
Woolnough Lecture Theatre, Geology Building, UWA
General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni

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Surgical robots – What they can and can’t do, what are they for, and the future.

A public lecture by Kiyoyuki Chinzei, Deputy Director of Health Research, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Japan and 2019 UWA Robert and Maude Gledden Senior Visiting Fellow.

Surgical robots are one of the top hi-tech medical gadgets of the day. Developed in early 1990s, the world market now reaches 4 billion USD/year, expanding 10-20 % annually. Followers of the dominant ‘da Vinci Surgical System’ are increasing as the patents of the Silicon Valley based giant Intuitive Surgical expire. Subsequently many new types of surgical robots are appearing, moving us from research to enterprise.

However, the truth is that virtually all of the current available gadgets are not in fact robots - in the sense that they do not do surgery on their own -  and no new surgical techniques have been made possible by the introduction of surgical robots. Large numbers of research studies about clinical outcomes are published – some are positive, some are not. Given this situtation, what then are surgical robots for? And, what is their attraction for surgeons and patients?

This lecture will give an overview of the current state of surgical robots, describing currently available systems that use robotic technology, as well as some ongoing R&D projects in multiple medical fields. Professor Chinzei will review clinical papers on the impacts of surgical robots, and outline some of technical challenges faced by the research community. 

Kiyoyuki Chinzei has been the deputy director of Health Research Institute of AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Japan) since 2015. He is also adjunct professor of Tokyo Denki University, and guest professor at the University of Tokyo between 2014 and 2016. He served as project leader of IEC TC 62/SD 62D/JWG 35 (medical robot for surgery) since 2015 and lead the development of IEC 80601-2-77:2019, the safety standard for medical robot for surgery.

Professor Chinzei’s main research accomplishments have been in the fields of biomedical engineering including surgical robotics, MR (magnetic resonance) robotics, biomechanics for surgical assistance, and regulatory science for medical devices. His two early works are still in the interests of many researchers – biomechanics of soft tissues for surgical assistance and MR robotics. He has collaborated with Professor Karol Miller at UWA since the mid-90s and published several papers on biomechanics for surgical simulation, which has over 1500 citations. MR robotics is about the design and control of robot within MRI room, which is quite restricted and ‘unfriendly’ environment for a robot. Chinzei developed the first prototype robot and demonstrated the MR compatibility, that the motion and imaging did not adversely affect each other. His methods to demonstrate the compatibility is still used by researchers.