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MEMS SEMINAR: Robert Webster, “Can Needle-Sized Robot Tentacles Help Surgeons Save Lives?”

Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science Spring 2024 Seminar Series with ROBERT WEBSTER (Vanderbilt), "Can Needle-Sized Robot Tentacles Help Surgeons Save Lives?" ABSTRACT: Thin, flexible robots able […]

Mar 27

March 27, 2024

12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

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  • Fitzpatrick Center Schiciano Auditorium Side A, room 1464

Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Spring 2024 Seminar Series with ROBERT WEBSTER (Vanderbilt), “Can Needle-Sized Robot Tentacles Help Surgeons Save Lives?”
ABSTRACT: Thin, flexible robots able to bend and elongate can help surgeons reach deeper and more accurately into the human body than ever before, through increasingly smaller incisions. This talk will cover recent breakthroughs in design, control, and sensing that are rapidly pushing the boundaries of surgical robotics to smaller scales, greater accuracy, and more effective interaction with surgeons. Mechanics-based models of elastic robots provide the basis for these advancements, which in turn provide the raw materials necessary for building effective surgical robotic systems. These systems can offer autonomous, teleoperated, or hand-held surgeon-robot interactions. The talk will cover both recent advancements in concentric tube robots and other new ideas in surgical robotics. An important theme of the talk will be the fascinating process of partnering with surgeons to create robots suitable for real-world operating room environments that have the potential to be powerful weapons in the fight against lung disease, brain tumors, hemorrhagic stroke, epilepsy, deafness, and urologic disorders.
BIO: Robert J. Webster III is the Richard A. Schroeder Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Clemson University in 2002, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 2004 and 2007. In 2008, he joined the mechanical engineering faculty of Vanderbilt University, where he currently directs the Medical Engineering and Discovery Laboratory. He founded and serves on the steering committee for the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering, which brings together physicians and engineers to solve challenging clinical problems. He is the founder and President of Virtuoso Surgical, Inc. and EndoTheia, Inc. which are commercializing technologies invented in his laboratory, and have raised approximately $25M in private capital and grant funding to date. Prof. Webster’s research interests include surgical robotics, medical device design, image-guided surgery, and continuum robotics.