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Robot navigation in the oral cavity of humans

Final Activity Report Summary - ORAL ROBOT (Robot navigation in the oral cavity of humans)

Within the current EU project ORAL ROBOT a new system for robot-assisted dental implantation has been developed through successful interdisciplinary cooperation between the Department for Cranio-maxillofacial Surgery (University Hospital of Heidelberg, Germany) and the SME TatraMed (Bratislava, Slovakia).

Dental implants have become a common means for the replacement of lost teeth. The implant must be placed in a way that makes it possible to achieve artificial tooth replacement appearing as natural as possible. Therefore, in order to support oral surgeons and dentists e.g. during the insertion of tooth implants, a prototype robotic system was developed. The system consists of a robotic arm with its specially designed end effector, surgical tools, and a workstation with the control and planning software. Careful 3D planning and precise measurements of the bone prior to implantation and its exact intraoperative transfer are achieved using our new automatic dental implantation planning software together with the new robotic system. The employed robot has seven degrees of freedom, which, when compared to the classical industrial robots, offers greater flexibility and ease of manipulation. The robot can be taught job steps by taking it by the hand and guiding it, due to its integrated sensors and its innovative control algorithms. The work space of the robot in the oral cavity being very small, a collision detection and avoidance algorithm was introduced in the robot control. Additionally, after the new workflow was established, a thorough risk analysis was conducted and all the processes have been documented.

The new robotic assistant system designed to help the surgeon in dental implant-ology was tested at different levels:
- With the prototype end effector we developed, we showed that robot assisted implant-ology is possible.
- The suitability of the new system was evaluated in accuracy tests, which analysed: a) the accuracy of the planning software; and b) the performance of the surgical robot system in transferring the preoperative planning in the operation phase.
The tests were performed on plastic maxillaries.

The results obtained after the tests on plastic maxillaries show that our system leads to more accurate, safe, and quick implant insertion resulting in shorter surgery times and less complications in comparison with the conventional therapeutic intervention.