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A three-limb teleoperated robotic system with foot control for flexible endoscopic surgery

  • Huang, Y
  • Lai, W
  • Cao, L
  • Liu, J
  • Li, X
  • Burdet, E
  • Phee, SJ
Publication Date
Mar 08, 2021
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository


Flexible endoscopy requires a lot of skill to manipulate both the endoscope and the associated instruments. In most robotic flexible endoscopic systems, the endoscope and instruments are controlled separately by two operators, which may result in communication errors and inefficient operation. Our solution is to enable the surgeon to control both the endoscope and the instruments. Here, we present a novel tele-operation robotic endoscopic system commanded by one operator using the continuous and simultaneous movements of their two hands and one foot. This 13-degree-of-freedom (DoF) system integrates a foot-controlled robotic flexible endoscope and two hand-controlled robotic endoscopic instruments, a robotic grasper and a robotic cauterizing hook. A dedicated foot-interface transfers the natural foot movements to the 4-DoF movements of the endoscope while two other commercial hand interfaces map the movements of the two hands to the two instruments individually. An ex-vivo experiment was carried out by six subjects without surgical experience, where the simultaneous control with foot and hands was compared with a sequential clutch-based hand control. The participants could successfully teleoperate the endoscope and the two instruments to cut the tissues at scattered target areas in a porcine stomach. Foot control yielded 43.7% faster task completion and required less mental effort as compared to the clutch-based hand control scheme, which proves the concept of three-limb tele-operation surgery and the developed flexible endoscopic system.

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