A Group of Graduate engineering Students at the university of Washington managed to hack the Microsoft Kinect to guide the robot to Surgery .
Scientists and engineers are working for years to integrate Gaming technology into the human controlled robots , and they are increasing to preform delicate operations too small for human hands.
The problem with surgical robots is that while they allow for extreme precision, there is no tactile sensation for the doctor operating the tiny robotic arms. If a scalpel brushes against an exposed vein, for instance, the robot operator does not feel the subtle bump.
heres a quote : “For robotics-assisted surgeries, the surgeon has no sense of touch right now,” said Howard Chizeck, UW professor of electrical engineering. “What we’re doing is using that sense of touch to give information to the surgeon, like ‘You don’t want to go here.'”
Engineers are trying to integrate the force feedback technology into the robots , translating those tiny bumps into force felt on the operator’s end.
In order for force feedback technology to work properly, it needs some sort of frame of reference to tell it when the robot is brushing against a bone or in danger of nicking a patient’s pancreas. the group got the idea to use a depth camera to provide a more precise picture by measuring infrared light reflected off of the surface. So they Used the Microsoft Kinect .
The team said , without the Kinect by their sides , the project could have cost 50,000$
Not only does the Kinect data allow for precision force feedback in robot surgeons, the operators can define entire regions of the operating area off limits, effectively placing a virtual force field around regions that the robot’s tools can’t pass.