Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab, UC Berkeley
The Robotics and Intelligent Machines Laboratory inside the University of California at Berkeley’s (UC Berkeley) Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) College of Engineering has been doing research which comprises the work of several faculty members and researchers, on various topics from microscopic to autonomous systems up to human-robot interaction.
The research topics conducted by this American University based robotic laboratory includes the likes of medical robotics, adaptation and learning, the study and development of micromechanical flying insects, micro robotics and even aerobots.
Among their past projects includes the work done by one of its labs, the Medical Robotics at UC Berkeley. Here, researchers develop projects in applying robotics technology to the field of medical applications. One of the projects includes the MIS, which is short for Minimally Invasive Surgery, and is a revolutionary approach in surgery.
At this lab, the operation is done with instruments, and viewing tools are inserted into the body by a small incision created by the surgeon. This procedure is in contrast to the usual operation where large cuts are done. This, in effect, greatly reduces surgical trauma and minimizes the damage done to healthy tissues, resulting in a faster recovery period for the patient.
Just like any other project, this revolutionary approach has its own downsides. The disadvantages presented are greatly attributed to the reduced dexterity, workspace, and various sensory inputs to the attending surgeon, which the lab is trying to correct.
This project is a direct collaboration between the researchers at the Robotics and Intelligent Laboratory and the Department of Surgery of the University of California San Francisco. Here, a robotic telesurgical workstation for laparoscopy, which is actually a bimanual system that possesses two, 6 Degrees of freedom controllers, was created. The degrees of freedom are made possible by the instrumented gripper one that is being manipulated by a couple of 6 DOF master controllers.
With this development, traditional surgical tools are replaced with robotic instruments and are being controlled by a surgeon using the teleoperation. With this method, researchers are hoping that it would greatly restore the control and sensation capacity of the doctor, which were basically reduced or lost due to the MIS.
Other research done at the lab includes Nonholonomic Motion Planning for Robots, Computational Vision, Assembly and Materials Handling, Adaptation and Learning in Biological and Artificial systems, and Air Traffic Management Systems among others.