Autonomous Surgery from JHU

Surgical robotics took a step forward today with the publishing of autonomous surgery results from Johns Hopkins in Science Translational Medicine. The authors present promising results using a Kuka robotic arm and a suturing tool to perform anastamosis under supervised autonomy. Our Cofounder Blake Hannaford provides perspective in this article from Geekwire.

Blake is no stranger to supervised autonomy, and we’ve pursued the idea as a means of dealing with the difficulties of time delay. For instance, if a ground-based operator can give high level guidance to a mouse dissection robot on the ISS, the robot can perform autonomously for discrete actions like cutting, grasping, and moving.

How would you feel if a surgeon told you that he’d sit back and let the robot do all the work?

Hamlyn Symposium 2016

Working at a startup means constant changes, but we’ve been fortunate to have one constant in our lives: our  annual trip to Imperial College London for the Hamlyn Symposium on medical robotics. It’s no coincidence that the Hamlyn Centre was our first RAVEN customer, the Hamlyn Centre is at the heart of surgical robotics innovation in Europe. We’re excited to be attending again this summer and we’re looking forward to catching up with everyone. Let us know if you’ll be attending so that we can make sure to have some goodies for you.

RAVENs around the world

RAVEN Sites as of Spring 2016
RAVEN Sites as of Spring 2016

Since our last community update we’ve shipped robots to three more schools! There are a total of 18 RAVEN labs on three continents with a total of more than twenty RAVEN robots. The newest members of our list are the Chongqing Institute for Green and Intelligent Technology (China), the University of Southern Denmark (Odense), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These new sites and many of the established RAVEN sites have been working on all sorts of fascinating new approaches to robotics and surgical applications.


California has the highest concentration of RAVENs followed by Seattle. If your region seems underrepresented, get in touch!

Two new members of the RAVEN community!

New Overseas sites for RAVEN
New Overseas sites for RAVEN

We are pleased to announce that Imperial College London and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) are the two newest members of the RAVEN community. Imperial College London will be using a standard RAVEN II at their Hamlyn Centre under the leadership of Professor Guang-Zhong Yang. Applied Dexterity is participating in a multi-institutional project with KIST and will provide custom RAVEN hardware for the team’s efforts to engineer a next-generation micro-surgical robot based on an open platform. These teams are the latest addition to our overseas community.

For more details, please read the Applied Dexterity Press Release.

RAVEN’s Big Screen Debut

Ender's Game Cast and Crew

To the delight of all of Applied Dexterity, the RAVEN is making it’s Big Screen debut in the first film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Sci-Fi masterpiece Ender’s Game. The staff of the film got in touch with Blake Hannaford and the BioRobotics lab at the University of Washington in the spring of 2012  to invite the RAVEN to be used in one of the scenes.

RAVEN on set

Lab members and PhD students Hawkeye King and Lee White spent a week in New Orleans preparing the robot for the scene, which culminated in an all day shoot with most of the movie’s stars. You can catch their masterful teleoperation skills during a closeup on the RAVEN just under an hour into the movie.

We are huge fans of the story, and we’re proud of the great work done by all of the BioRobotics Lab in making this happen. It truly is a sign that the RAVEN is ready for the future. The film premiers today, November 1st.

RAVEN adapter assembly

Adapter Assembly

All of the parts are in and assembly is well underway on a community sourced addition to the RAVEN system that allows for use of commercially available surgical tools. When these are delivered to many of the members of the RAVEN community in the next few weeks, they will greatly increase the number of tool types available for research. These adapters were enabled by the open tool interface provided to RAVEN users and we look forward to the future innovations that will come out of the highly capable community.

Applied Dexterity Booth at ICRA 2013

The Applied Dexterity team at their booth at ICRA 2013
The Applied Dexterity team at their booth at ICRA 2013

The Applied Dexterity team has set up their booth at ICRA 2013 in Karlsruhe, Germany. We’ve already met a lot of great people, and look forward to meeting more people and robots. If you’re in the area, come see us at booth 245 in the Kongresszentrum!

Quote of the day:

“We need one of these.”