The introduction of novel technologies as robotics in the surgical field requires highly specialized operators. Indeed, proper skills acquisition to deal with these novel surgical technologies is fundamental for patient’s safety. Few decades ago, training relied on the well-established paradigm “see one, do one, teach one”. Instead, today simulation is playing as a game changer towards higher efficacy and safety in training by involving novices in a detached playground where to build their skills before to get into the surgical practice.

The aim of this workshop is analyzing the current role of simulation in surgical training, together with providing an overview of the latest research efforts on this topic. This workshop will feature an initial session dealing with the importance of training, while discussing the existing types of medical simulators and their current use in training centers. This session will rely on the presence of experts from clinical settings, training mentors and panelists from industry. Afterwards, academia will go on the stage to provide a comprehensive session regarding the most recent research efforts. In this second session, both virtual and physical simulators will be presented to pave the way to the third session. Here, a debate will involve major experts in the field that will confront each other on the advantages and disadvantages of these two technologies in the clinical practice.

In the afternoon, a hands-on session will be organized so that the morning panelists will have the opportunity to show their research outcomes and the workshop participants can directly interact with the simulation technologies. Clinicians will help in involving the workshop participants in real training sessions. Companies will be also invited to this hands-on session to show few commercial examples of training simulators.
Closing comments and remarks will be driven by the organizers at the end of the day.


08:30Registration & Coffee
09:00Opening: Welcome & Introduction - Agenda of the day and IntroductionArianna Menciassi (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy)
09:05Current and future needs of robotic surgical trainingJustin Collins CMR Surgical
09:20The importance of simulation in surgical training: company perspectivesBen Ebong, Intuitive
09:35Perspective from CAMES (Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation)Peter Hertz (CAMES, Denmark)
Virtual Reality Simulators - Introduction
09:50STHAS: Similataneous Training of Humans and Autonomous Systems in Robotic SurgeryPaolo Fiorini (University of Verona, Italy)
10:10Performance assessment tools for surgical trainingElena De Momi (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
10:30Coffee Break
11:00A Computational Model of the Human Colon and colon-instrument interactionSanja Dogramadzi (University of Sheffield, UK)
11:15Towards optimizing the technical skill of surgeons and anesthesiologistsIlana Nisky (Ben Gurion, Israel)  - online
Physical Simulators - Introduction
11:30Simulators to accelerate medicine-engineering collaborationHarada Kanako (University of Tokyo, Japan) - online
11:45Catalyzing Visual-Haptic Acuity in RMISJeremy D. Brown (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
12:00Physical and hybrid AR simulatorsVincenzo Ferrari (University of Pisa, Italy)
12:15The impact of touch for medical training through physical simulatorsLiang He (Oxford Robotics Institute, UK)
12:30Lunch Break
13:30Round table: Virtual VS Physical Simulators
TEAM VIRTUAL: Justin Collins, Elena De Momi, Sanja Dogramadzi, Paolo Fiorini, Gernot Kronreif
TEAM PHYSICAL: Jeremy Brown, Vincenzo Ferrari, Liang He, Peter Hertz, Arianna Menciassi
14:45Demo Setup
15:00Coffee Break
15:30Demo Presentations and Hands on
16:50Closing remarks & Awards

Learning Outcomes

The workshop attendees will gain a comprehensive outlook on the present and the future of simulation for surgical training. Also, this workshop aims to provide an analysis of the role of simulation and the existing categories of training simulators. The presence of panelists from both academia, industry and clinics will boost this review. Also, the presence of a debate (involving these 3 realities) will allow to better analyze the potential and the criticalities related to the introduction of simulators in the training practice. The criticalities in converting research efforts from bench to clinics will be also of particular interest.

To promote networking and entertainment, the afternoon session will configure as hands-on. These hands-on activities will facilitate the understanding of the materials and methods behind each simulator. Also, the research groups and companies will have the opportunity to record data and to benefit from the feedbacks by all the attendees that will interact with their simulator. In addition to idea exchange, the event aims to capture unique perspectives by including speakers with heterogenous careers and seniority levels. This workshop will provide an opportunity for networking among participants to foster collaboration and to create mentorship opportunities for junior researchers.


Dr.Selene Tognarelli, BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa)
Prof. Arianna Menciassi, BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa)
Dr. Andrea Mariani, BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa)
Giulia Gamberini (MSc) BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa)
Sabina Maglio (PhD Student) BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa)


This workshop is accredited for 6 CPD points.






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09:00 - 17:00