COMP 790-099: Recent Advances in Medical Robotics and Simulation

Spring 2009

Time: Tuesdays at 3:30pm

Location: SN 115

Instructor: Prof. Ron Alterovitz

Office hours: Thursdays 3:30pm - 4:30pm or by appointment, 223 Sitterson Hall


New robotic tools are being introduced into clinical practice, enabling physicians to achieve greater precision and accuracy than previously possible when performing surgical and interventional procedures. In this course, we will study robot motion planning and simulation algorithms for medical applications, including diagnosis, pre-operative planning, and intra-operative control of medical devices.

Topics to be covered include:

Format: The course will consist of lectures, paper presentations, and projects. The course will discuss clinical scenarios followed by current computational research methods designed to address the challenges raised in the scenarios. Students will select and present two research articles of their choice. Students will also have the option of completing and presenting a project in the area of medical robotics and simulation (see below).

Units: This is a variable unit course. Students who register for one unit will be required to participate in all discussions and present two papers. Students who register for three units will be required to complete a project in medical robotics and simulation.

Grading: For 1 unit: 30% participation, 70% presentations. For 3 units: 20% participation, 30% presentations, 50% project.

Prerequisites: None required. The course material is accessible to all graduate students and motivated undergraduate students with backgrounds in computer science and/or biomedical engineering. Necessary background material will be covered in introductory lectures.


Date Topics Details
January 13 Introduction to Medical Robotics
January 20 Concepts in Motion Planning (postponed) Deadline: First paper selection on Medical Robot Devices or Motion Planning (send by e-mail)
January 27 Concepts in Motion Planning Deadline: 1-page project proposal
February 3 Motion Planning with Sensor Feedback
February 10 Cognitive Based Neural Prosthetics - Brendan Walters
RRT's for Rapid Replanning - Lisa Lyons
February 17 Stochastic Motion Roadmaps - Lavar Askew
February 24 Multi-modal planning - David Wilkie
Feedback Control for Nonholonomic Mobile Robots - Sachin Patil
Deadline: First project progress report (1 page)
March 3 Introduction to Surgery Simulation Deadline: Second paper selection on Medical Simulation or Simulation-based Planning (send by e-mail)
March 10 Spring break
March 17 Surgery Simulation Applications
Needle Insertion Point and Orientation Optimization - Sachin Patil
Deadline: Second project progress report (1-2 pages)
March 24 Real-time elastic deformations of soft tissues - Lisa Lyons
Needle insertion through 2D soft tissue - Lavar Askew
March 31 Planning Motion in Deformable Environments - Brendan Walters
Flexible needle steering using virtual springs - Chen-Rui Chou
April 7 Motion Planning & Drift, Underactuation and Discrete System Changes - David Wilkie
Optimal Configuration Space Sampling - Chen-Rui Chou
April 14 Project presentations: David Wilkie and Lavar Askew
April 21 Project presentations: Lisa Lyons and Sachin Patil
May 7 Deadline (by 3pm): Final project report (4-6 pages, use IEEE template (not Magnetics))

Reading List

Check back for updates. Download links are provided for some papers. Other papers can be downloaded from the UNC library.

Medical Robotic Devices

Motion Planning

Medical Simulation

Simulation-based Planning

Relevant Textbooks

Advice on Presentations

Giving an Academic Talk by Jonathan Shewchuk