Autonomously Navigating a Surgical Tool Inside the Eye by Learning from Demonstration

Ji Woong Kim, Changyan He, Muller Urias, Peter Gehlbach, Gregory D. Hager, Iulian Iordachita, Marin Kobilarov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

A fundamental challenge in retinal surgery is safely navigating a surgical tool to a desired goal position on the retinal surface while avoiding damage to surrounding tissues, a procedure that typically requires tens-of-microns accuracy. In practice, the surgeon relies on depth-estimation skills to localize the tool-tip with respect to the retina in order to perform the tool-navigation task, which can be prone to human error. To alleviate such uncertainty, prior work has introduced ways to assist the surgeon by estimating the tooltip distance to the retina and providing haptic or auditory feedback. However, automating the tool-navigation task itself remains unsolved and largely unexplored. Such a capability, if reliably automated, could serve as a building block to streamline complex procedures and reduce the chance for tissue damage. Towards this end, we propose to automate the tool-navigation task by learning to mimic expert demonstrations of the task. Specifically, a deep network is trained to imitate expert trajectories toward various locations on the retina based on recorded visual servoing to a given goal specified by the user. The proposed autonomous navigation system is evaluated in simulation and in physical experiments using a silicone eye phantom. We show that the network can reliably navigate a needle surgical tool to various desired locations within 137 μm accuracy in physical experiments and 94 μm in simulation on average, and generalizes well to unseen situations such as in the presence of auxiliary surgical tools, variable eye backgrounds, and brightness conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages7351-7357
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728173955
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020
Event2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2020 - Paris, France
Duration: May 31 2020Aug 31 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729

Conference

Conference2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2020
CountryFrance
CityParis
Period5/31/208/31/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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