Telerobotic Surgery with Free Hand Gestures

Current teleoperated robot-assisted surgery requires surgeons to manipulate joystick-like controllers in a master console, and robotic arms will mimic those motions on the patient’s side. It is becoming more popular compared to traditional minimally invasive surgery due to its dexterity, precision and accurate motion planning capabilities. However, one major drawback of such system is related with user experience, since the surgeon has to retrain extensively in order to learn how to operate cumbersome interfaces.

To address this problem, we have developed an innovative system to involve touchless interfaces for telesurgery. This type of solution, when applied to robotic surgery, has the potential to allow surgeons to operate as if they were physically engaged with the surgery in-situ (as standard in traditional surgery). By relying on touchless interfaces, the system can incorporate more natural gestures that are similar to instinctive movements performed by surgeons when operating, thus enhancing the user experience and overall system performance. Sensory substitution methods are used as well to deliver force feedback to the user during teleoperation.

Zhou, Tian, Cabrera, Maria Eugenia, Low, Thomas, Sundaram, Chandru & Wachs, Juan (2016). A Comparative Study for Telerobotic Surgery Using Free Hand GesturesJournal of Human-Robot Interaction, 5, 1-28.

Zhou, Tian., Cabrera, Maria., & Wachs, Juan. (2016). A Comparative Study for Touchless Telerobotic Surgery. In Computer-Assisted Musculoskeletal Surgery (pp. 235-255). Springer International Publishing.

Zhou, Tian., Cabrera, Maria., & Wachs, Juan (2015, January). Touchless telerobotic surgery-is it possible at all?. In AAAI (pp. 4228-4230).

Zhou, Tian., Cabrera, Maria., & Wachs, Juan, (2015) Communication Modalities for Supervised Teleoperation in Highly Dexterous Tasks – Does one size fit all?. In 2nd Workshop on the role of Human Sensorimotor Control in Surgical Robotics, in Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on. IEEE.

Zhou, Tian., Cabrera, Maria., & Wachs, Juan, (2014) Touchless telerobotic surgery – A comparative study. In 3rd Workshop on Telerobotics for Real-Life Applications, Opportunities, Challenges and New Developments, in Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on. IEEE.


Incision task with Omega sensor

Peg transfer with Leap Motion

Threading task with Leap Motion