Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ARIS*ER (Augmented reality in surgery, research training network for minimally invasive therapy technologies)

Minimally invasive therapy (MIT) is one of the most important trends in modern medicine. It covers the wide range of therapies in videoscopic surgery and interventional radiology and is performed through small incisions and therefore leaves less damage. It reduces hospital stay-time by allowing faster recovery and offers substantially improved cost-effectiveness for the hospital and the society.

The introduction of MIT has also led to new problems. The manipulation of structures within the body through small incisions reduces dexterity and tactile feedback. It also requires a different approach than conventional surgical procedures, since eye-hand coordination is not based on direct vision, but more predominantly on image guidance via endoscopes or radiological imaging modalities.

This project developed technology to with the potential to improve eye-hand co-ordination and enhance the accuracy of MIT procedures. The technology developed may also improve the margin of safety and enlarge the potential applications for MIT. ARIS*ER identified the key limiting factors in MIT at the beginning of the project:
- immature and unreliable tools for real-time 3D-navigation, - fragmented research prevents rapid development;
- lack of researchers capable to operate across the integrated fields of 3D visualization, image processing, robotics and radiology, while having sufficient insight into the workflow, clinical tasks and human factors relevant for interventional radiology and minimally invasive surgery.

ARIS*ER has produced novel workflow oriented decision support tools for a series of image-guided therapies. A guidance system for precise insertion of radio-frequency ablative probes into liver tumours was developed. This system combined intuitive 3D visualisation of patient anatomy, surgical tools and visualisation aids with basic technology for 3D image segmentation and registration as well and inter-modality image co-alignment techniques. The technological underpinning were hidden behind a supporting and user interface.

Furthermore a system for automatic positioning, both statically and dynamically, of an endo-clamp balloon (device used to facilitate minimally invasive cardiac surgery) was developed. This system provided an integrated solution to both visualization and position control by combining imaging, tracking, visualization, and catheter drivers in a novel way.

The research in ARIS*ER was performed in a coordinated way with a high level of interaction between the partners. The research method on a consortium level stroke a balance between fundamental research with a bottom-up approach and user-driven design with a top-down design approach. Design tools to facilitate this strategy is also an important outcome of this project.

Eight early-stage researchers and seven experienced researchers were recruited and trained during the course of the project. The researchers were given access to a set of courses, workshop and seminars arranged at a network level all supporting the research undertaken. The network events provided an invaluable venue for cross-disciplinary interaction, problem solving and innovation.

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