LCSR Seminar: Tania Morimoto “Flexible Surgical Robots: Design, Sensing, and Control”
Flexible and soft medical robots offer capabilities beyond those of conventional rigid-link robots due to their ability to traverse confined spaces and conform to highly curved paths. They also offer potential for improved safety due to their inherent compliance. In this talk, I will present several new robot designs for various surgical applications. In particular, I will discuss our work on soft, growing robots that achieve locomotion by material extending from their tip. I will discuss limitations in miniaturizing such robots, along with methods for actively steering, sensing, and controlling them. Finally, I will discuss new sensing and human-in-the-loop control paradigms that are aimed at improving the performance of flexible surgical robots.
Tania Morimoto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and in the Department of Surgery at the University of California, San Diego. She received the B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, all in mechanical engineering. Her research lab focuses on the design and control of flexible continuum robots for increased dexterity and accessibility in uncertain environments, particularly for minimally invasive surgical interventions. They are also working to address the challenges of designing human-in-the-loop interfaces for controlling these flexible and soft robots, including the integration of haptic feedback to improve surgical outcomes. She is a recipient of the Hellman Fellowship (2021), the Beckman Young Investigator Award (2022), and the NSF CAREER Award (2022).