Autonomous Robotic OR Assistance

During the performance of surgical procedures, regular actions must be performed in the periphery of the operating table, i.e. in the non-sterile area of the operating room (equipment operation, procurement of sterile materials, etc.). Due to their non-sterile nature, these tasks are not performed by the surgeon himself, but fall under the responsibility of the so-called "OR circulator", who can move freely in the non-sterile area. The function of the OR circulator is essential for an efficient surgical procedure, but in clinical practice it is often fraught with problems, for example due to stressful situations caused by parallel activities, insufficient training, lack of personnel, etc. Therefore, the aim of the proposed AURORA project is the development of a context-sensitive mechatronic assistance system, which is able to move autonomously in the non-sterile area of the operating room as well as within the surgical tract between individual rooms. The central task of this assistance system is to relieve human OR circulators and to support the surgical teams. Within the scope of the project, a corresponding demonstrator is to be developed, which can already cover first use cases, such as the operation of medical equipment and the provision of sterile supplies. The central scientific and technical challenge here is the successful integration of the robotic circulator into the highly dynamic, safety-critical and cramped environment of the operating room, which has so far been little studied from an autonomous robotic perspective.