05-14-2020 HeRo Seminar: UofT’s Jessica Burgner-Kahrs on continuum robotics

Through the Keyhole: Continuum Robots for Surgical Applications

Prof. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs
Continuum Robotics Laboratory
University of Toronto Mississauga


Thursday, May 14, 2020 | 2-3pm ET

Abstract Continuum robots, which are biologically inspired and organic compliant structures, differ fundamentally from traditional robots, which rely on a rigid joint-link composition. Their appearance is evocative of animals and organs such as trunks, tongues, worms, and snakes. Composed of flexible, elastic, or soft materials, continuum robots can perform complex bending motions and appear with curvilinear shapes. Thanks to their small size and high dexterity, continuum robots have the potential to revolutionize keyhole surgery through small incisions or natural orifices. Physicians can rethink their approach to minimally invasive surgery as surgical sites become accessible on highly tortuous trajectories and unimagined surgical manoeuvres become feasible. The presentation provides an overview of the current state of continuum robotics research for surgical applications. Open research questions and cross-disciplinary challenges are discussed.

Bio Dr. Burgner-Kahrs is Associate Professor of Mathematical & Computational Sciences,Computer Science UTM, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and founding Director of the Continuum Robotics Laboratory. She holds a Diplom and doctoral degree in Computer Science from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. Before moving to Toronto, Dr. Burgner-Kahrs held appointments at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA and Leibniz University Hannover, Germany. Her research focus lies on continuum robotics and is driven by applications in minimally-invasive surgery and non-destructive inspection. Dr. Burgner-Kahrs research was recognized by the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2015 and the Engineering Science Prize in 2016 among others. She was entitled Germany’s Young Researcher of the Year 2015 and nominated as a Young Global Leader from the World Economic Forum in 2019.



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