Date: Wednesday, 28th June; Morning

Workshop Aims

Continuum robotics such as concentric tubes, multi-backbone and soft structures have evolved from a niche area to one that has been extensively researched. The structure and flexibility of continuum robots has generated interest among clinicians in potential medical applications. For example, concentric tube robots (CTR) have the unique ability to traverse torturous and complex anatomical paths while maintaining a sufficient level of rigidity for performing tissue manipulation. Unlike traditional serial pin-jointed robotic mechanisms, the structural nature of CTRs allow them to be easily miniaturized which makes them well suited for minimally invasive and single port surgical applications such as neuro-endoscopy, ureteroscopy and thoracic surgery. The fundamentals of the kinematics and dynamics for various continuum systems have also been well studied yet there is no commercially available system. The purpose of this workshop is to develop a working list of clinical opportunities, technical requirements and regulatory challenges for translating continuum robotics to use. It is designed an interactive workshop between researchers, engineers and clinicians to brainstorm about the different areas and identify barriers to using continuum robots in a clinical setting. The result of the workshop will be to create a list of milestones that need to be solved while also serving to build bridges between the clinical, engineering and regulatory worlds.

Topics to be covered

Key themes of this workshop will include:

  • Clinical applications/needs
    • Cardiac
    • General/Thoracic surgery
    • Neurosurgery
    • Otolaryngology
    • Plastic surgery
    • Urology
  • Technology development and limitations
    • Actuation mechanisms
    • Tool body and tool tip designs
    • Surgical tool path planning and navigation
    • Pre-clinical testing


  • Thomas Looi, Hospital for Sick Children
  • James Drake, Hospital for Sick Children


08:30 Registration and coffee
09:00 Welcome and Introduction to Speakers and Format
09:10 Clinical Introductions
09:15 Challenges and Opportunities in Neurosurgery
  James Drake, Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
9:35 Challenges and Opportunities in Otolarygology
  Vito Forte, Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
9:55 Challenges and Opportunities in General Surgery
  Ted Gerstle, Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
10:15 Challenges and Opportunities in Plastic Surgery
  Thomas Looi, Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
10:35 Tea and Coffee Break
11:05 Technical Introductions
11:10 Concentric and Continuum Manipulators
  Robert Webster, Vanderbilt University, USA
11:30 Shape and Force Sensing
  Rajni Patel, Western University, Canada
11:50 Workspace Design and Planning
  Christos Bergeles, University College London, UK
12:10 Roundtable Discussion on Clinical Opportunities and Technology
12:45 Highlight Top 3 Clinical and Technical Challenges
13:00 Closing Remarks and Lunch


Royal Geographical Society, 
1 Kensington Gore,