Human Skill Augmentation in Robot-Assisted Surgery

Alaa Eldin Abdelaal
Vanier Scholar and Ph.D.
University of British Columbia
Assistant Professor Colleen Josephson

Join us on Zoom:

Description:  Robot-assisted surgery (RAS) has gained momentum over the last two decades with nearly 1,250,000
RAS procedures performed in 2020 alone using the da Vinci Surgical System, the most widely used
surgical robotics platform. RAS enables surgical approaches that reduce patient recovery time, make
minimally invasive surgery more accessible and comfortable for physicians, and enable superhuman
precision. Yet for all the advances they have brought, current robotic surgical systems are essentially
remotely controlled.

My research investigates how to augment humans’ skills as they use these systems. I approach the
problem from two perspectives: from a Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) perspective, I design and
develop interfaces that improve the interaction between the human and surgical robots; and, from an
automation perspective, I design and develop autonomous systems to perform repetitive parts of tasks,
allowing humans to focus on the more demanding elements.

In this talk, I will present examples of some of the interfaces and autonomous systems that we have
designed. I will show how these interfaces improve depth perception as well as surgical training in RAS.
Furthermore, I will show how our autonomous systems and algorithms inspire the design of novel
execution models to automate surgical tasks, a step towards achieving superhuman performance.


Speakers Bio:  Alaa Eldin Abdelaal is a PhD candidate at the Robotics and Control Laboratory at the University of British
Columbia and a visiting graduate scholar at the Computational Interaction and Robotics Lab at Johns
Hopkins University. He holds a B.Sc. in Computer and Systems Engineering from Mansoura University in
Egypt and a M.Sc. in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University in Canada. His research interests
are at the intersection of automation and human-robot interaction for human skill augmentation and
decision support with application to surgical robotics. His work is co-advised by Dr. Tim Salcudean and
Dr. Gregory Hager. His research has been recognized with the Best Bench-to-Bedside Paper Award at the
International Conference on Information Processing in Computer-Assisted Interventions (IPCAI) 2019. He
is the recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship for PhD
students in Canada.