The development of flexible surgical instruments is taking Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) to hard or previously inaccessible anatomical areas using natural orifices or through small incisions. However, reliable and precise control of flexible tools remains a major challenge due to non-ergonomic design, non-intuitive steering and lack of shape sensing and visualisation technologies. Robotic approaches could overcome these limitations by integrating sensors, actuators, and reasoning mechanisms for navigating through such constrained environments, increasing consistency and the overall outcome of the procedure. Introducing robotic (partial) autonomy is believed to be one of the most promising ways to render this problem manageable for the operator/clinician. This workshop highlights the latest advances in embedding autonomy for Flexible Robot Assisted-MIS (FRA-MIS) procedures. It provides an overview of the main technical challenges of FRA-MIS, and it presents the latest solutions to address unmet clinical needs.

The workshop will involve clinicians, industrial leaders and academic researchers, making it a combined forum for open questions regarding the prospective direction of the field in the next 5 years and identifying aspects of high interest both for companies and clinical centres. Moreover, it will address low-level research problems such as sensory inputs, the mechanical design of the robot, and algorithmic development for motion planning, i.e. topics of interest for early-stage researchers and students. The workshop would feature a round-table discussion, a poster session with a teaser presentation and a quiz to encourage interaction among participants.


08:30Registration & Coffee
09:00Opening: Welcome & IntroductionDi Wu
09:05Low-level control of soft manipulators for minimally invasive surgeryEnrico Franco
09:30Technological development and robotics in interventional CardiologyGiovanni Monizzi (Clinician) Online
10:00Shape sensing in soft surgical robots: is it a real need?Arianna Menciassi
10:30Coffee Break
11:00Addressing challenges in MIS through Soft RoboticsSheila Russo
11:30Hybrid force/position control for concentric tube robotsChristos Bergeles
12:00Parallel soft robots for efficient human-robot-interactionLukas Lindenroth
12:30Lunch Break
13:30IntroductionAlbert Hernansanz
13:35Advanced Proprioceptive Sensing of Flexible SurgicalOmar Al-Ahmad
14:00Towards Task Autonomy in Transendoscopic Concentric Tube RobotsBob Webster III
14:30Which robotic platform and which automation may be useful in clinical practice?Alberto Arezzo (Clinician) Online
15:00Coffee Break
15:30Balancing Autonomy and Clinician control in Flexible Surgical RobotsPanel Discussion: Di Wu Albert Hernansanz Arianna Menciassi (Moderator), Paolo Fiorini, Robert Webster III, Sheila Russo, Philip Chiu
17:00Workshop End

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this workshop, the participants will have a big-picture of the main technical challenges in FRA-MIS. Some of the topics covered in the workshop would be robot control, sensing technologies, hardware architectures and autonomous navigation for FRA-MIS systems. The workshop will discuss constraints that have restricted the autonomous capabilities of available FRA-MIS, which include high-level navigation and decision support systems as well as low-level system integration to support reliable control in intraluminal procedures. Thanks to clinicians’ participation, attendees can interact with clinicians and understand unmet clinical needs. For the audience with an interest in technology transfer, by communicating with the invited industrial leaders, they can better design their valorization plan and learn more about entrepreneurship.

The workshop would feature ten adequate compact presentations, along with round-table discussions on debatable topics, e.g. applications of deep learning in surgery.


Ameya Pore, University of Verona, Italy/Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain
Di Wu, KU Leuven, Belgium/Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
Zhen Li, Politecnico di Milano, Italy/Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
Diego Dall’Alba, University of Verona, Italy
Emmanuel Vander Poorten, KU Leuven, Belgium
Mouloud Ourak, KU Leuven, Belgium
Arianna Menciassi, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy
Paolo Fiorini, University of Verona, Italy 


This workshop is accredited for 6 CPD points.






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09:00 - 17:00