MIE 1080: Introduction to Healthcare Robotics, Winter Term 2021


MIE1080: Introduction to Healthcare Robotics Winter, 2021


Instructor: Prof. Yu Sun & guest lecturers

Time: 9:00am-12:00pm, Mondays

Course Description: This course provides students with knowledge on healthcare robotics including surgical, assistive, and rehabilitation robots, plus essential skills in ethics, design, IP and market considerations. Specific topics include medical imaging-guided surgery; minimally-invasive surgery through miniaturization, novel actuation and sensing; robotic surgery at tissue and cell levels; autonomous robotic systems to assist with daily living activities; multi-modal robot interfaces; robotics-based rehabilitation technologies; upper limb rehabilitation robots; wearable exoskeletons and sensors; implanted neural interfaces. Students are provided with state-of-the-art advances in healthcare robotics.


Participation: 20%
Posing questions in the chatbox or raising your hand and asking questions will be how this is evaluated. Students are expected to ask questions and are encouraged to leave their camera on.
Presentation: 20%
Students will give 10-20 minute presentations (depending on the size of the class) on a new trend or development related to that day’s module. All slots will be in the latter half of the term. Students will have the opportunity to sign up for their slot on the first day of class.
Term paper (10 pages + references): 60%
on Surgical Robotics, or Rehabilitation Robotics, or Assistive Robotics, consisting of two components: technical review; market research or assessment and design considerations

Required Textbook: None.

Modules: Each class session will feature one or two guest lectures in one of the topic areas below. in addition to either a NSERC/CREATE trainee presentation or a student presentation.

Ethics: Healthcare robotics are particularly subject to fundamental ethical questions about what the systems do, what risks they involve, and how they (and their data) are controlled.

Design: From gathering information (system designers must take into consideration human factors), to creating prototypes, the design process of robotics.

Surgical: Surgical robots can enhance surgeons’ capabilities and help standardize procedures for high consistency and high performance across surgeons. Researchers are developing robotic surgical interventions at scales ranging from tissue down to the cell level.

Assistive: Assistive robots are being developed to provide interventions and everyday assistance to vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly, especially those suffering from social and cognitive impairments.

Rehabilitative: Rehabilitation robotics research for the upper extremity has focused on developing in-clinic robots and adaptive control strategies, with the goal of producing clinically significant improvements over traditional therapy in shoulder-elbow, wrist, and hand function.

Market Considerations/IP/Regulatory Issues: Healthcare robotics is a growth industry, and there are many additional factors to be considered in development such as market analysis, regulatory policies, and intellectual property concerns.


January 11
9:00am-10, Russ Taylor (also part of HeRo seminar series)

Description: This talk will discuss an emerging three-way partnership between human care-givers, technology, and information to significantly improve partnerships. Computer-integrated interventional medicine (CIIM) systems combine innovative algorithms, robotic devices, imaging systems, sensors, and human-machine interfaces to work cooperatively with surgeons in the planning and execution of surgery and other interventional procedures. For individual patients, CIIM systems can enable less invasive, safer, and more cost-effective treatment processes. Since these systems have the ability to act as “flight data recorders” in the operating room, they can enable the use of statistical methods to improve treatment processes for future patients and to promote physician training. A similar partnership, using many of the same components, is emerging to improve bedside care in intensive care units and similar venues. We will illustrate these themes with examples from our past and current work on CIIM systems. We will also briefly discuss a simple robotic system developed at JHU for remote operation of ventilators in ICUs for use in infectious disease pandemics. We will also discuss some of the common research and deployability challenges found in these systems.

Bio: Russell H. Taylor has over 30 years’ experience in medical robotics and over 40 in robotics research. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford in 1976. After spending 1976 to 1995 as a Research Staff Member and research manager at IBM Research, he moved to Johns Hopkins University in 1995, where he is the John C. Malone Professor of Computer Science with joint appointments in Mechanical Engineering, Radiology, and Surgery and Director of the of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR). He is the author of over 500 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications and 90 patents and has received numerous awards and honors, including (most recently) election to the National Academy of Engineering

10:30-12, David Fleet
Description: Introducing some of the concepts and recent work on correspondence matching between multiple views of 3D scenes for motion estimation and 3D reconstruction tasks. This will include tasks like large scale scene reconstruction, human tracking, and the estimation of biomolecular structure at atomic resolutions.

Bio: David Fleet is a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He is also Senior Research Scientist at Google Brain. His research interests include aspects of computer vision, machine learning, image processing, and visual neuroscience.

January 18

9-10:30, Richard Foty – Design
Description: The use of robotics to improve health is an exciting area of innovation, but without first identifying who you’re trying to help and what they need help with, you may be designing an answer to a non-existent problem. Identifying and understanding unmet health needs is paramount to having impact. By the end of this session, participants will be able to 1) Challenge their current definitions of ‘health’; 2) Describe the importance of identifying and understanding unmet health needs prior to defining a project; 3) Describe the importance of co-creation in innovation.

Bio: Richard is an Assistant Professor in the department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and a course director in the Translational Research Program in Health Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Richard is a provoking and gripping educator. He challenges students to think differently so they can champion change in their own communities. At the TRP he is a course director of Foundations in TR and a faculty advisor for Capstone projects.

Richard was classically trained as a musician from a very young age. While music continues to be an integral part of his life, he has also been able to blend his artistic passion into his scientific pursuits. His research interests include mobile health technologies, caregiver health, the health effects of climate change, and building predictive models and identifying trends within populations.

Prior to undertaking his doctoral studies, Richard was a Research Coordinator at the Hospital for Sick Children. He holds an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University and a Master’s of Science degree in Epidemiology from UofT.

10:30-12, Gabriella Chan
Description: “The Healthcare Robotics Commercialization Toolkit: From idea to commercialization”, will provide an overview of the invention-translation-commercialization pathway and explore the types of intellectual property (IP) and IP rights. We will delve more deeply into patenting principles and strategics, particularly as they relate to healthcare robotics.

Bio: Gabriella is a lawyer, scientist, and entrepreneur. She advises individuals, startup ventures, established companies, and stakeholders in the life sciences and health technology sectors. She works closely with world-renowned clinicians and researchers to commercialize academic inventions. Gabriella is an engaging educator. Her breadth of legal knowledge and real world start up experience offer invaluable perspectives on the ethically sound translation and commercialization of academic inventions. At the TRP, Gabriella is the Course Director for Modules in Translational Research, and she is the Instructor for the Intellectual Property module and the Procurement, Privacy, and Regulatory Affairs module.

January 25

9-11, Joseph Ferenbok – Translational medicine / design / co-creation
Title: Human-Centered Robotics in Healthcare
Talk Description:
The high cost of existing healthcare delivery and the significant and rapid growth in robotics and supporting systems, creates abundant opportunities for innovation. Current ingenuity gaps span training, surgery, rehab and homecare, to name a few. Everyone is looking for the Next Big Thing, but where do good ideas come from? And how do you develop a winning strategy for developing your ideas?

Workshop: Ideation: Coming up with Bad ideas!

Learning Objectives
At the end of this workshops students should be able to:
State the difference between brainstorming and ideation.
Discuss approaches for generating ideas.
Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively.
Articulate strategies for evaluating and testing ideas.

Bio: My passion is bringing people together through collaborative problem-solving to understand and develop systematic approaches for mobilizing knowledge. My aim is to aid in developing more efficient and effective design of person-centric interventions (from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral change) that improve the health of individuals and the public.

My career path has routinely taken me along the edges of disciplines, institutions and practices. From my entrepreneurial efforts to my research and teaching, I have always been fascinated by trying to see from different perspectives and approach problems from unconventional ways. I have been both an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur, and have helped found programs including: Safewalk (a 500+ volunteer-based organization devoted to personal safety at night; the Translational Research Program, a UofT graduate degree program at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine focused on training students to use creative problem-solving to translate research towards innovation in health sciences; and the Health Innovation Hub (H2i), the faculty of Medicine’s campus linked accelerator for mentorship on Health Matters.

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and I believe (like Azimov), that it is more fun to be a jack of all trades than master of one.

11:15am-11:45 HeRo Trainee presentation – Raisul Alam

February 1
9am-10:30, Josephine McMurray – Marketing Analysis
Description and bio pending

10:45-11:20am HeRo Trainee presentation – Jongwoo Kim

11:25am-12:00pm HeRo Trainee presentation – Zhuoran Zang

February 8 : HeRo Summit

February 22
9-10:30, José Zariffa
Description: First, an introductory review of rehab robot control strategies for therapeutic interventions, as well as discussion of the use of robots for the assessment of human function in rehabilitation. The second part will focus on neural interfaces for the control of robotic assistive technologies (e.g. prosthetic limbs).

Bio: José Zariffa is an Assistant Professor in IBBME at UofT and a Scientist at TRI-UHN. His expertise is in rehabilitation robotics, automated assessments of function, computer vision, and neuroprosthetic systems. He conducted the first clinical trial of an upper limb rehabilitation robot in
the spinal cord injury population.

10:30-12: To be discussed – Comp time for 2nd Day of HeRo Summit (Feb 19)

March 1
9-10:30, Rosalie Wang – Rehabilitative
Description: This lecture will focus on integrating prior discussion topics about co-design and assistive and rehabilitation robotics and look at approaches for engagement of individuals with disabilities and the development and clinical evaluation of these technologies. Topics will include development, evaluation, and implementation of complex interventions, an introduction to clinical methods and study designs relevant to technology-based interventions.

Bio: Rosalie Wang is Assistant Professor of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at UofT. She is an Affiliate Scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and a member of their AI and Robotics in Rehabilitation team. She focuses on developing and implementing technology to enable daily activity of seniors and post-stroke rehabilitation.

10:30-12: Student presentations

March 8
9-10:30, Thomas Looi – Minimally Invasive Robotic Tools – Neurosurgery and ENT
Description: Typical neurosurgical procedures require large invasive approaches to access and reach the clinical target for treatment. There is a need for developing millimetre-sized steerable robotic tools to allow surgeons to precisely target and treat areas of the brain with a minimally invasive technique. Our research focuses on the application for continuum and magnetically actuated robotic tools. This presentation will be an overview of current clinical motivations, robotic mechanism design and surgical phantoms.

Bio: pending

10:30-12: Student presentations

March 15
9-10:30, Vitor Pereia – Surgical
Description: This lecture will review neurovascular diseases and the most common minimally invasive treatment methods. It will also review the history and current concepts of endovascular robotic procedures and future perspectives on the domain.

Bio: Dr. Vitor Mendes Pereira is a neurosurgeon specialized in minimally invasive procedures of the intracranial and spinal circulation and percutaneous spinal interventions for pain management. He is a Professor of Medical Imaging and Surgery at the University of Toronto and Staff Physician at the Toronto Western Hospital and Hospital for the Sick Children.

10:30-12, Angelica Lim – Assistive; affective HRI
Description: This will be a lecture about socially interactive robots in the wild, specifically those currently sold and deployed in hospitals, group care and private homes.

Bio: Dr. Angelica Lim is the Director of the Rosie Lab, and an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University. She has worked for over 15 years in robotics in France, Japan and North America, including 4 years working at SoftBank Robotics leading the Emotion and Expressivity teams for the Pepper humanoid robot. She received her B.Sc. in Computing Science (Artificial Intelligence Specialization) from SFU and a Ph.D. and Masters in Computer Science (Intelligence Science) from Kyoto University, Japan. She has been featured on the BBC, TEDx, hosted a TV documentary on robotics, and was recently featured in Forbes 20 Leading Women in AI.

March 22
9-10:30, Sheila McIlraith – Building Taskable Assistive Robots using Reinforcement Learning
Description: Assistive robots perform physical and/or cognitive tasks to aid and support others. An important property of such robots is their ability to be robust to the varied and changing needs of those they are assisting — to observe, to learn, to take instructions and advice, and to adapt. In this talk, I will advocate for the role of reinforcement learning (RL) as an important building block in the development of assistive robots, and present techniques to support building taskable assistive robots using reinforcement learning.

Bio: Sheila McIlraith is a Professor in Computer Science. She has 10years of industrial R&D experience developing AI applications. McIlraith is an expert in AI knowledge representation and reasoning with a focus on cognitive robotics and automated planning. Her work focuses on AI sequential decision making broadly construed, through the lens of human-compatible AI.

10:30-12: Student presentations

March 29
9-10:30: Student presentations

10:30-12, Goldie Nejat – Assistive (elderly care)
Description: Assistive robots are becoming an important part of society, aiding people in everyday life, in order to meet the urgent and immediate needs of an aging population. This talk will present some of my group’s recent research efforts in developing intelligent assistive robots to improve quality of life and promote independence (aging-in-place) of older adults, including those living with dementia. In particular, I will discuss our Brian, Casper, Tangy, Blueberry, Salt, Luke and Leia socially assistive robots that have been designed to autonomously provide cognitive and social interventions, help with activities of daily living, and lead group recreational activities in human-centered environments. Numerous user studies conducted with older adults in care settings will also be discussed to highlight how these robots can effectively be integrated into people’s everyday lives. These expressive robots can serve as assistants to individuals as well as groups of users, while learning to personalize their interactions to the needs of the users via persuasion and emotions.

Bio: Goldie Nejat is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and a world renowned expert in the development of intelligent socially assistive robots for applications in health and elderly care, for use in healthcare facilities and private homes.

April 5
9-10:30: Student presentations

10:30-12, Rajni Patel – Surgical
Description: Teleoperated (leader-follower) robotic systems offer advantages to the user of increased dexterity and precision, tremor filtering, motion repeatability, autonomous or semi-autonomous functions, and in the time of a pandemic such as COVID-19, relative safety in providing treatment. A major limitation in most current robotic systems used in medical applications is the absence of realistic/accurate haptic (sense of touch) feedback which prevents reflection to the user of interaction forces between the robot and its environment. This talk will focus on two specific areas of application: robotics-assisted medical interventions and robotics for neurological movement disorders. In each of these areas, the role of haptics-based teleoperation will be discussed based on experimental studies to highlight the key issues associated with incorporating force sensing and haptics in teleoperated environments and the advantages of such interaction in the specific applications.

Bio: Rajni Patel received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, England, in 1973 and currently holds the position of Distinguished University Professor and Tier-1 Canada Research Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with cross appointments in the Department of Surgery and the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at Western University. He is a founding member of CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics) and also serves as its Director of Engineering. He has over 35 years of research experience in the design, simulation, prototyping and control of advanced robotic and mechatronic systems. During the last 20 years, his research has focused on robotic and mechatronic applications in minimally invasive surgery and therapy, haptics and teleoperation, surgical training and skills assessment, and more recently on applications of robotics and haptics for neurological movement disorders. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE, and a Fellow of the ASME, the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

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