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Device mimicking robotic controller outperforms joystick for neuroradiology procedures

While interventional neuroradiology endovascular procedures are normally controlled using joystick movements, a new study suggests that a device mimicking robotic controller, which directly copies the operator’s movements, allows for a better performance and outcomes.

Published in the International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, researchers developed an interventional radiology simulator with a profile of vessels, catheters and guidewire beam modelling.

The participants were six experienced interventional neuroradiologists, two novice neuroradiologists and one interventional radiologist. These individuals then performed a navigation task on the simulator with three different human-computer interfaces.

A number of metrics were used to evaluate and characterise each interface, including the time taken for navigation, number of incorrect catheterisations, number of catheter and guidewire prolapses and forces applied to vessel walls. Finally, participants responded to a questionnaire to evaluate the perception of the robotic controllers.

Changing the direction of robotics

The researchers found that the time taken for navigation, the number of incorrect catheterisations and the number of catheter and guidewire prolapses were better for the device mimicking robotic controller compared to a joystick controlled approach. In feedback, the interventional radiologists reported a preference for the device mimicking controller for interventional neuroradiology procedures.

Lead author on the study, and PhD candidate in cancer imaging, Benjamin Jackson said: ‘There is a lack of interventional neuroradiologists across the UK and globally. In the UK alone, around 6,000 patients per year are unable to access the most beneficial stroke care. This paper is the first steps towards developing tele-operated robotic solutions to help give patients access to the care they need.‘

Study author Thomas Booth, reader in neuroimaging, School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences at King’s College London, added: ‘Whilst this is an intuitive result, robots in interventional radiology are typically controlled using button presses and joystick movements, so the findings may change the direction of robotic development in this emerging field.