Chair for Computer Aided Medical Procedures & Augmented Reality
Lehrstuhl für Informatikanwendungen in der Medizin & Augmented Reality

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Introduction to Surgical Robotics

Winter term 2014/2015

After attending this lecture, you'll know about:

  • Analyzing the pros and cons of the use of robots in existing surgical workflows
  • Fundamentals of modes of operation, compiling requirements, specifying components and integration aspects of systems
  • Conception and modeling of solutions for problems based on technical and algorithmic approaches
  • Definition of a clinical project for enhancing surgical applications by the use of robotics

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about the cutting edge research in surgical robotics
  • Talk to specialists from technology development and physicians in the field
  • Attend a surgery (in teams of 3-4)
  • Develop and present your own approach of robotics assistance in the operating room
  • Do practical work and pass a final test
The application-oriented course begins with a presentation of current surgical interventions with robotics assistance and correspondent research projects, analysing benefits and drawbacks. Then, basic knowledge about surgical techniques is presented. Several lectures put the focus on background knowledge that is required for computer scientists to include robotics in their research projects. The acquired knowledge is applied by the students to develop a solution to an existing clinical problem using robotics assistance.


  • Self-organized familiarization with MATLAB/Simulink
  • Midterm presentation (Powerpoint or equivalent) of 10 minutes/per team including the medical basics of the procedure, equipment used, evaluation of procedure (logistics, use of equipment, timing, who is involved and individual roles, other relevant information, starting points for improvements, and next steps ...)
  • Final presentation (Powerpoint or equivalent) of 10 minutes/per team of defined process, engineering and computer science relevant evaluation, identification of potential process improvements, actual process improvement (pick one topic) with robotics assistance (improve quality and surgical accuracy? improve timing of procedure? cost improvement? ...)

Administrative Info

Lecture: Dr. Rainer Konietschke et al.
Tutor: TBD

Type: Lecture + Lab Courses TUMonline
Programs: Robotics, Cognition, Intelligence (Master)
Biomedical Computing (Master)
SWS: 2+2
ECTS: 5 Credits
Course Language: English

Time, Location & Requirements

Lecture: The lecture will be held in 7 morning blocks of four hours each (8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.), the dates are:

  • Block 1: October 24, 2014
  • Block 2: October 31, 2014
  • Block 3: November 21, 2014
  • Block 4: November 28, 2014
  • Block 5: December 12, 2014
  • Block 6: January 23, 2015
  • Block 7: January 30, 2015

Location for the exam on January 30, 8:30: 0.01.16(Hörsaal 1) in 8102 Parkring 35-39 Garching-Hochbrück
After the exam, we will move back into our usual room 0.01.18(Seminarraum 3) in 8102 Parkring 35-39 Garching-Hochbrück

We will have teams working on daVinci robotics procedures, conventional laparoscopy, othopaedics, and possibly other. The surgeries will be performed in Munich hospitals. The teams will be asked to contact the head surgeons for an appointment and arrange for a Q&A session before and/or after the surgery. The surgery should be well documented -- please use an engineering approach to analyze the procedures.


  • The classes and assignments are in English
  • Assignments are to be composed in English only


ALERT! Registration is only possible via TUMonline once the course appears there. There will be a limit of 18 participants, priority is given by time of registration.

  • Grading will be based on attendance (20%), the midterm presentation (25%), the final group presentation (25%), and a test (45 minutes) on the technology basics (30%)
  • ALERT!One excused (E-Mail at least two days prior to lecture with reason) absence will be accepted, two excused absences will cause a "4" in attendance, a non-excused absence equals failure of the course. That includes the attendance of the surgeries and Q&A sessions. The first block is mandatory!
  • Clinical collaborators TBD.


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The lecture includes:
  • Block 1 - Introduction
    • Part 1 - Organizational Matter (Rainer Konietschke) - 45 min: You will get a short preview of the lecture. We will form groups of 3-4 students for the assignments and operation room visits. You will get the surgeon contacts to schedule your OR visits. The assignments will be presented, and the first assignment (work with MATLAB/Simulink) is delegated to you.
    • Part 2 - Introduction to surgical robotics (Rainer Konietschke) - 120 min: This lecture will, based on the current state of the art surgical robotics, identify and classify various potentials of robotics in the OR. After this lecture, you will have an idea of the opportunities and challenges in surgical robotics and get a starting point for your contribution in this field.
    • Part 3 - User-centered development and evaluation of human-machine interfaces (Bernhard Weber) - 45 min: The lecture consists of mainly two parts: (1) a general introduction to human factors methods and (2) an example of applying these methods in the field of robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery. In Part 1, methods of developing, improving and evaluating novel concepts of human-machine interfaces will be reviewed. It will be described how to involve end users in each stage of the product cycle, to determine user requirements as well as limitations and to evaluate concepts or systems accordingly. Besides qualitative methods like systematic field observations, semi-structured interviews, hierarchical task analyses and prototype testing, quantitative experimental methods like part-task or full scale simulations will be presented. In Part 2, the practical application of the user-centered approach will be illustrated by the example of DLR’s surgical robot MIRO for minimally invasive surgery.
  • Block 2 - Surgical Techniques (Bernhard Kübler) - 210 min: You will learn about the general course of action and processes in ORs, technical basics of endoscopes (flexible endoscopes as well as minimally invasive surgery), and examples of application. Furthermore, basics of sterilization technology (gas, low-temperature plasma, heat, radiation) and notes on design of MIS instruments as well as current trends in surgery (single port surgery, NOTES etc.) will be presented.
  • Block 3 - Kinematics
    • Part 1 - Midterm presentations (You) - 30 min
    • Part 2 - Kinematics (Christopher Schlenk) - 90 min: After a short repetition of rigid body transformation matrices, alternative ways to represent rotations such as Euler- and Kardan-angles, “angle and axis” representation, and unit quaternions will be introduced. Subsequently, the Denavit-Hartenberg convention to describe robot kinematics will be explained. Then, the calculation of the direct and inverse kinematics and of the Jacobi matrix of a robot is derived. Finally, you will learn how to calibrate a tool to the robot coordinate system.
    • Part 3 - Kinematics exercises (Christopher Schlenk, Julian Klodmann) - 90 min: At the beginning of this exercise, you will identify the Denavit-Hartenberg parameters of a robotic arm. Using these information, you will investigate the direct and inverse kinematics of this robot in MATLAB/Simulink and plot its workspace.
  • Block 4 - Dynamics
    • Part 1 - Midterm presentations (You) - 30 min
    • Part 2 - Dynamics lecture (Julian Klodmann) - 160 min: The dynamics modeling of robot manipulators is essential for mechanical design, control and simulation of robotic systems. Understanding the dynamics of a robotic system enables to evaluate its capabilities and limitations to perform a certain task. Beginning with the dynamics of a first order mass-spring-damper system, you will form the dynamic equations of motion of robot manipulators. Different algorithms to derive the robot dynamics are summarized.
    • Part 3 - Actuators lecture (Rainer Konietschke) - 20 min: Introduction to actuators, with focus on electromechanical actuators which are most relevant for surgical robotics.
  • Block 5 - DLR visit
    • Part 1 - Midterm presentations (You) - 30 min
    • Part 2 - Overview of surgical robotics activities at DLR (Florian Fröhlich and Julian Klodmann) - 180 min
  • Block 6 - Control
    • Part 1 - Final presentations (You) - 60 min
    • Part 2 - Control I (Andreas Tobergte) 90 min: You will learn about basic concepts in control like linear control, laplace transformation, transfer functions, state space formulation, pid controller, state control.
    • Part 3 - Exercises (Andreas Tobergte, Rainer Konietschke) 30 min: You will do some exercises using MATLAB/Simulink.
    • Part 4 - Control II (Andreas Tobergte) 30 min: In this lecture you will get an introduction to passivity-based robot control.
  • Block 7 - Image-guided control
    • Part 1 - Final presentations (You) - 30 min
    • Part 2 - Image-guided control (Florian Fröhlich) - 60 min: This lecture shortly introduces some commonly used methods of medical imaging. Following, the requirements of image based control are discussed. The use of a camera, especially an endoscopic stereo camera, as sensor for tracking and modeling is presented. Finally, two closed loop applications are shown: optical tracking of input devices and artery detection based on Doppler-Ultrasound.
    • Part 3 - Tracking of natural and artificial landmarks (Martin Gröger) - 30 min: Motion tracking in medical images will be presented based on endoscopic image data. Methods for detecting landmarks for tracking will be shown and motion tracking strategies will be explained.
    • Part 4 - Final exam (You) - 60 min
    • Part 5 - Wrap-up (All) - 30 min

We will have about 30 min of breaks in each block, arranged by the lecturers.

Lecture Schedule

Date Conducted by Topic Literature Slides
October 24th Rainer Konietschke, Bernhard Weber Introduction    
October 31st Bernhard Kübler Surgical Techniques    
November 21st Christopher Schlenk, Julian Klodmann Kinematics    
November 28th Julian Klodmann, Rainer Konietschke Dynamics & Actuators    
December 12th DLR visit Surgical Robotics at DLR    
January 23rd Andreas Tobergte Control    
January 30th Florian Fröhlich, Martin Gröger Image-guided control, final exam, wrap-up    


  • Jacob Rosen; Blake Hannaford; Richard M. Satava (Eds.) (2011) Surgical Robotics – Systems Applications and Visions, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4419-1125-4
  • John J. Craig. 1989. Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics and Control (2nd ed.). Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc., Boston, MA, USA.
  • Hagn, U., Nickl, M., Jörg, S., Tobergte, A., Kübler, B., Passig, G., Gröger, M., Fröhlich, F., Seibold, U., Konietschke, R., Le-Tien, L., Albu-Schäffer, A., Grebenstein, M., Ortmaier, T. & Hirzinger, G. (2008) DLR MiroSurge – towards versatility in surgical robotics. 7. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Computer- und Roboterassistierte Chirurgie e.V. Proceedings of CURAC, 2008, pp. 143 – 146.
  • Selected Workshop and Proceedings of the following congresses: ICRA, IROS, CARS, Curac

Title: Introduction to Surgical Robotics
Professor: Rainer Konietschke et al.
Type: Lecture
Information: 2 + 2 SWS, 5 ECTS Credits
Term: 2014WiSe
Abstract: The application-oriented course begins with a presentation of surgical interventions in cooperation with surgeons. State-of-the-art methods and methods with robotic assistance will be presented and compared. Then, background knowledge for surgical robotics is presented. Eventually, the acquired knowledge is applied to develop a solution to an existing clinical problem using robotics assistance.

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