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ARMA students and Dr. Simaan are thankful for their continued support. They have gifted $50K to establish the Advanced Robotics and Mechanism Applications Research Fund to support student training.  


Dr. Simaan has successfully led a multi-disciplinary team at Vanderbilt University in a proposal to develop haptic training and skill assessment tools for low-resource settings in developing countries. More news is coming later, but the performance sites for the leap SAVE program are available at https://wellcomeleap.org/save/ . 

We are also looking for Ph.D. students and postdocs to support this activity. 


Congratulations to ARMA members Nima and Giuseppe. The paper titled "TURBot - Preliminary Evaluation of Robotic Dexterous Bladder Tumor Resection" recieved the best paper award in the 2018 Engineering and Urology Society conference. The authors are Nima Sarli, Giuseppe Del Giudice, Smita De, S. Duke Herrell and Nabil Simaan. 


ARMA graduate students Andrew Orekhov, Garrison Johnston, and Colette Abah won the ASME design competition held as part of ASME IDETC conference. Their first-place prize is for a design report and a presentation related to the NSF project on In-Situ Continuum RObots for collaborative manufacturing. Congratulations Andrew, Garrison, and Colette. 


Congratulations for Colette Abah and Andrew Orekhov for having their paper accepted and presented at IEEE International Conference on Robotics & Automation 2018 held in Brisbane Australia. 


Neel Shihora will be presenting his work on robotics for remote Cricothyrotomy at IEEE IROS'2021 and at MHSRS'2021. The titles of the two papers are:

  • Shihora, N., Yasin, R., Walsh, R., Simaan, N., "Feasibility of Remote Landmark Identification for Cricothyrotomy Using Robotic Palpation", accepted for publication in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS’2021).
  • Shihora, N., Walsh, R., Simaan, N., "Feasibility Study of Assistive Telemanipulation Methods for Identifying the Cricothyrotomy Landmark Using Robotic Palpation", accepted for presentation in Military Health System Research Symposium, MHSRS’21, Aug 23-26, 2021.

Colette Abah will present her work on micro-catheter design optimization for ischemic stroke treatment in the upcoming IEEE International Symposium on Medical Robotics (ISMR'2021). Her work provides design guidelines based on a new framework for kinematic modeling and path planning for optimal design and choice of catheters for specific vascular anatomy. 

  • Abah, C., Chitale, R., Simaan, N., "Image-Guided Optimization of Robotic Catheters for Patient-Specific Endovascular Intervention," accepted for publication in IEEE International Symposium on Medical Robotics (ISMR’2021), Atlanta, GA, 2021. 


Congratulations to Nicolo Garbin of STORM lab and Long Wang of ARMA lab for winning ISMR2018 best student paper (IEEE International Symposium on Medical Robotics). The award was given for the paper titled "A Disposable Continuum Endoscope Using Piston-driven Parallel Bellow Actuator" by Nicolo Garbin, Long Wang, James H. Chandler, Nabil Simaan, Keith L. Obstein and Pietro Valdastri.  


Newly promoted Dr. Giuseppe Del Giudice presented his Ph.D. dissertation defense successfully on June 22nd, 2021. His dissertation titled "Design, Modeling, and Control of Continuum Robots for Multi-Scale Motion and OCT-Guided Micro-Surgery" spans new advancements in the modeling and experimental evaluation of new continuum robots for microsurgery. These robots enable multi-scale manipulation (i.e. provide micro and macro scale motion) using the same architecture. Giuseppe also focused on closed-loop control of continuum robots using optical coherence tomography image feedback for visual servoing at the micro scale. Giuseppe has Joined Auris Healthcare - a division of Johnson &Johnson. 


Congratulations for Rashid Yasin, Long Wang and Colette Abah for having their paper titled "Using Continuum Robots for Force-Controlled Semi Autonomous Organ Exploration and Registration" nominated for best conference paper at the IEEE International Symposium on Medical Robotics. 



Congratulations to Andrew Orekhove and Colette Abah for successfully passing their Ph.D. prelims (commonly known as the qualifying exams). We look forward to exciting few years while they prepare their Ph.D. dissertations.


ARMA recieved a new 4-year integrative award from the National Science Foundation as part of the National Robotics Initiative. This award titled "NRI: INT: MANUFACTURING USA: COLLAB: In-Situ Collaborative Robotics in Confined Spaces" in a collaborative award with the Biorobotics lab of Dr. Howie Choset at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. The following summary listed below is the same as in is the public summary page. We will be updating a new project page with research outcomes as results mature in the coming years.

Many manufacturing operations require workers to perform operations in confined spaces, subjecting them to possible fatigue and injury from performing tedious tasks in non-ergonomic postures. Intelligent robotic assistants can facilitate safe and ergonomic reach into such spaces, while allowing human workers to remain physically present and in full control over delicate operations. The project will investigate the use of highly reconfigurable, in-situ, collaborative robots (ISCRs) with the enhanced perception and support-autonomy needed to allow a worker and a robot to safely share a common space and collaborate through physical interaction. Conventional robots cannot be used as ISCRs because they are bulky, special-purpose and difficult to program. This project's ISCRs are expected to reduce worker fatigue and musculoskeletal injuries, which are responsible for more than 34 percent of lost work days in the United States, and increase worker productivity. Their added intelligence is also expected to make the robots easier to use, by offering a human-friendly means of interaction. The research has potential applications in the aerospace industry, including the manufacture and service of the fuselage and wings, inspection and repair of hydraulic lines or fuel tanks and pipes, caulking, welding of structural joints and deburring.

This work to support effective human-robot collaboration in confined spaces makes three main technical contributions: 1) design and control strategies for ISCRs, 2) contact detection and location estimation and 3) simultaneous contact-force and navigation (SCAN) planning, so that a robot can use bracing to maneuver deep into a confined space. The ISCRs allow compliance and robustness to geometric uncertainty, reduced inertia, contact sensing and regulated force of interaction with the environment. This new design enables the exploration of real-time estimation for contact state detection, a screw-theoretic approach for constraint identification, and stiffness modeling. The research will also develop planners to achieve SCAN within a semi-structured environment with uncertainty and will use intentional contact to allow enable the robot to reach deep into confined spaces.

Dr. Simaan was elected by the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society as a Fellow in 2020. His elevation to this rank is cited "or contributions to dexterous continuum robotics for
surgery".  Less than 0.1% of voting members are selected annually for this member grade elevation. More details are provided here.

Dr. Simaan was also selected among the Top 25 voices in healthcare robotics, voted by technology leaders in surgical robotics, BIS research, 2020. More details are provided here.


Congratulations to Nima Sarli and Giuseppe delguidice for having their papers submitted to IROS2017 accepted for publications. They will soon present their work in Vancouver Canada. The paper titles and authors are:

  1. Minimal Visual Occlusion Redundancy Resolution of Continuum Robots in Confined Spaces by Nima Sarli and Nabil Simaan
  2. Continuum Robots for Multi-Scale Motion: Micro-Scale Motion Through Equilibrium Modulation by Giuseppe delgiudice, Long Wang and Nabil Simaan.


Garrison published his paper titled "Kinematic Modeling and Compliance Modulation of Redundant Manipulators Under Bracing Constraints" in the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). 

Andrew published his paper titled "Solving Cosserat Rod Models via Collocation and the Magnus Expansion" in the 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).


Congratulations to the NRI collabnorative student team from Vanderbilt, CMU and JHU. The following papers have been accepted for publication in the upcoming IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA' 2016) in Stockholm, Sweden:

  1. Roy, R., Wang, L., Simaan, N., “Investigation of Effects of Dynamics on Intrinsic Wrench Sensing in Continuum Robots”.
  2. Chalasani, P., Wang, L., Roy, R., Simaan, N., Taylor, R.H., Kobilarov, M., “Concurrent Nonparametric Estimation of Organ Geometry and Tissue Stiffness Using Continuous Adaptive Palpation”.
  3. Srivatsan, A.,  Ayvali, E., Wang, L., Roy, R., Simaan, N., Choset, H., “Complementary Model Update: A Method for Simultaneous Registration and Stiffness Mapping in Flexible Environments”.
  4. Ayvali, E., Srivatsan, A., Wang, L. Roy, R., Simaan, N., Choset, H., “Using Bayesian Optimization to Guide Probing of a Flexible Environment for Simultaneous Registration and Stiffness Mapping”.


Dr. Rashid M. Yasin successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation titled "Perception Augmentation and Assistance for Improved Surgical Awareness" on December 4 2019. He has joined Medtronic's team in Boston, Massachusetts to design the next-generation of surgical systems. We wish him the best of luck with his career. 


The National Science Foundation has awarded ARMA a 3-year grant to design and develop modeling and control strategies for robots capable of supporting image-based biopsy while offering motion capabilities in both macro-scale and micro-scale. The students supporting the submission of this award included Long Wang and Haoran Yu.

The National Institute of Health has funded ARMA lab with a new 5-year R01 award titled "Ocular Therapeutic Delivery through Real-time Endoscopic
B-scan OCT-guided Tools and Robotic Assistance". This award is a collaboration with Dr. Karen Joost and Dr. Jin-Hui Shen of the VUMC Eye institute and it focuses on developing new technologies for enabling accurate interventions and drug delivery within the eye by using a combination of optical coherence tomography (OCT) guidance and robotics. 


Congratulations to Giuseppe Del Giudice on passing his Ph.D. preliminary exam (also knows as qualifying exam). Giuseppe joined ARMA as an intern and we are thrilled to see his continued success as he advanced his skills and research to earn a Ph.D. degree.


Nima Sarli has successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation titled "Design, Modeling and Control of Continuum Robots and Dexterous Wrists with Applications to Transurethral Bladder Cancer Resection". Nima's dissertation presented the first methodical modeling and experimental characterization of transurethral bladder tumor resection. He also presented a unique and first dexterous tele-robotic system for transurethral bladder tumor resection - including evaluation in live animals.

Nima has joined AURIS Health and will be working on their next generation surgical systems. ARMA lab wishes him continued success.  


Congratulations to Rashid Yasin for successfully passing his Ph.D. prelims (commonly known as the qualifying exams). We look forward to seeing him prosper as a Ph.D. student at ARMA.