Overall Mission

The CISST ERC mission is to develop novel computing methods, interfacial technologies and computer-integrated surgical systems to significantly improve surgical procedures in the 21st Century.

The industrial collaborators provide the systems development infrastructure for rapid prototyping and validation of surgical systems concepts for carrying out surgical interventions that are more accurate and less invasive.

Another vital part of our mission is to educate the next generation of researchers, engineers and clinicians who will lead the way in the rapidly expanding field of computer-integrated surgery.

The Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology Engineering Research Center (CISST ERC) is striving to make surgical interventions less invasive, less risky (for patients and clinicians), more efficient, less costly, and capable of achieving better patient outcomes. This entails providing clinicians with more useful information, prior to and during the procedure, and more precise instrumentation. The means for accomplishing this is the creation of modular, integrated systems comprised of an imaging modality (e.g., CT scan, MRI, ultrasound or X-ray), computer processing, sensors, robotic devices, and human-machine interfaces. These systems will be able to do a wide variety of surgical interventions in nearly every organ system or part of the human body. They will be less expensive than existing surgical robot systems and more easily reconfigured to progress rapidly from one patient and procedure to another. They will enable many clinicians to perform procedures with competence that only a few clinicians now have; they will also allow clinicians to perform procedures that no one can now do with existing technology.

Intellectual Merit.

Creation of the surgical systems described above requires innovative research and problem-solving in modeling and analysis, interface technology, and systems science. It also requires advances in the knowledge and understanding of basic science and engineering, enabling technology and engineered systems. Researchers at the CISST ERC are recognized leaders in the field, working in multi-disciplinary teams to conduct leading edge research. Engineering disciplines include computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering. Clinical partners are drawn from general surgery, cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, clinical oncology and interventional radiology. A systems focus and test bed environments provide an innovative environment for the development of novel applications of image-guided, robotically assisted diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

Broader Impact.

The CISST ERC has developed a strong infrastructure geared to systems integration and cross-fertilization of ideas and approaches. This also enables the Center to compete successfully for additional resources from a variety of government and private sector sources. It has also developed an innovative education and outreach program that fosters interest in computer-integrated surgery, and the many engineering challenges it poses, among teachers and students over a wide band of institutions and a racially and gender diverse population. Extensive collaboration with industry partners helps to infuse a practical perspective, so that research projects are not only clinically relevant, but also look towards potential commercialization. This collaboration, and the continuing development of the field, is enhanced by the high caliber of students graduating from the program and taking positions with leading companies in this field. The CISST ERC is developing a portfolio of intellectual property, some of which has already been licensed to a start-up company created to bring a moderately priced, adaptable, image-guided robotic system to market as soon as possible.