Programmable Logic Controller Safety System for Surgical Robot
Introduction Surgical robotics is revolutionizing the way in which clinicians deliver health care. As the field of surgical robotics continues to evolve, it is important to keep patient safety in mind. A surgical robot presents a complex software and hardware system with strong requirements for safety. It is problematic to ensure safety of such systems as no known methods exist to prove correctness and robustness of complex control software. Technology description Researchers at the University of Washington have invented a programmable logic controller (PLC)
safety system for a surgical robot system. The system consists of programmable logic hardware which controls the running state of the systems at all times. PLCs are a highly reliable off-the-shelf technology that can easily and reliably be programmed for small numbers of states. PLC implementation is more reliable than implementation of equivalent functions in a computer. This system provides a level of predictability, reliability, and robustness sufficient for animal surgery evaluation. Business opportunity The future of computer-assisted navigational and robotic surgery will include a series of technologies that will be combined to improve the quality of surgical care. There will be niche market opportunities not only for developers and marketers of software, surgical navigational systems and surgical robotics, but also for companies marketing pre-operative imaging systems, such as CT scanners, surgical simulation systems for training, real-time intraoperative image guidance systems, such as three dimensional ultrasound systems, and force reflection and feedback systems. The worldwide market for computer-assisted surgery and surgical systems is currently $500 million, growing at annual rates in the 21% to 25% range. Intellectual Property Position This technology is available for licensing. Related Publication(s)
Fodero K 2nd et al, Control system architecture for a minimally invasive surgical robot, Studies in health technology and informatics. 2006;119:156-8.
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