IEEE/RSJ International Conference on
Intelligent Robots and Systems
Hamburg, Germany
Sept. 28 – Oct. 02, 2015

2nd workshop on The role of human sensorimotor control in surgical robotics

Friday, October 2, 2015


Surgery is a highly complex sensorimotor task requiring surgeons to precisely control surgical instruments to operate on patients. In tele-operated robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (RAMIS), the surgeon manipulates a pair of master manipulators that control the movement of instruments that are inserted into the patient via small incisions. The design and control of RAMIS platforms may enhance the ability of the surgeon to perform a safe and effective surgery. A comprehensive understanding of surgeon sensorimotor behaviour is fundamental to continuing innovations and improvements of surgical robots. The tele-operative nature of RAMIS allows measurement of underlying surgeon behavior, and this research is resulting in new and exciting findings that not only improve surgical robotics but also suggest a novel, applied, and real-life environment to study basic human sensorimotor control.



In this workshop, we seek to foster a dialogue between researchers in the fields of: (1) computational modelling of neural control of movement, sensorimotor behaviour, and motor learning; (2) human-robot interaction, tele-operation, and surgical robotics; and (3) surgical training and skill assessment. By bringing together researchers from these fields, we hope to gain insights on future directions to improve surgical robotics as well as to advance our understanding of basic human behaviour. The first workshop at 2014 IROS was highly successful in achieving its goals of stimulating discussion and fostering new research directions, and we are looking forward for another successful gathering this year in Hamburg.



Dr. Ilana Nisky, Biomedical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, nisky (at)

Dr. Anthony Jarc, Medical Research, Intuitive Surgical, Inc., anthony.jarc (at)



•        Human-robot interaction

•        Teleoperation

•        Haptic and tactile feedback

•        Computational motor control

•        Eye-hand coordination

•        Perception and action

•        Human motor learning

•        Surgical training and performance metrics

•        Robot-assisted and computer-assisted surgery






Invited speakers:



Anthony Jarc and Ilana Nisky

Welcome and Introduction

RAMIS teleoperation and human motor control

Session 1


Chair: Ilana Nisky


Peter Konig

Sensory augmentation and multimodal integration


Yuichi Kurita

Wearable assistive devices that enhance sensorimotor capability of surgeons



Coffee and poster viewing

Session 2


Chair: Anthony Jarc


Guallaume Morel

Co-manipulation for assistance to surgical gesture.


Max Berniker

Is that my arm, a tool, or an arm-tool? A normative view of motor learning


Ilana Nisky and Anthony Jarc

Panel Discussion: Peter Konig, Yuichi Kurita,

Guallaume Morel, Max Berniker


Ilana Nisky

Poster teasers




                               Surgical training, skill assessment, and motor learning

Session 3


Chair: Ilana Nisky


Daniel Braun

Model uncertainty in sensorimotor learning and decision-making


Sam Vine

From Laparoscopy to Robotics: The psychophysiology of skilled surgical performance



Coffee and poster viewing

Session 4


Chair: Anthony Jarc


Giancarlo Ferrigno

Is biomimetic sensory –motor control a really effective approach to robotic surgery?


Anthony Jarc and Ilana Nisky

Panel Discussion: Daniel Braun, Giancarlo Ferrigno,

Sam Vine


Anthony Jarc

Surgical robotics research opportunities


Anthony Jarc

Best Poster Competition Winner


Ilana Nisky

General discussion and closing remarks



poster session:

The following posters were presented at the workshop:


1.                  Hand-tool-tissue interaction forces in neurosurgery for haptic rendering

Marco Aggravi, Elena De Momi, Francesco DiMeco, Francesco Cardinale, Giuseppe Casaceli, Marco Riva, Giancarlo Ferrigno, and Domenico Prattichizzo

2.                  Human-robot effective interaction: human arm joint configuration during teleoperation and free-hand

Jacopo Buzzi, Elena De Momi, Esteban E. Pavan, Carlo Albino Frigo, and Giancarlo Ferrigno

3.                  Performance metrics for surgeon endoscope control during robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery

Anthony Jarc and Myriam Curet

4.                  Beyond 2D telestration: an evaluation of new proctoring tools for robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery

Anthony Jarc, Swar Shah, Troy Adebar, Eric Hwang, Monish Aron, Inderbir Gill, and Andrew Hung

5.                   Surgical grasping forceps that enhances a tactile perception ability

Yuichi  Kurita, Yamato Sueda, Minoru Hattori , Hiroyuki Sawada, Hiroyuki Egi, Hideki Ohdan, Jun Ueda, and Toshio Tsuji

6.                   Preliminary investigation of telegrasping for improving transparency in robot-assisted surgery

Amit Milstein, Tzvi Ganel, Sigal Berman, and Ilana Nisky

7.                  Weber's law during remote grasping

Nir Sagi, Omri Afgin, Tal Pal, Tzvi Ganel, Ilana Nisky, and Sigal Berman

8.                  Stochastic optimal control formulation for modeling reaching movement in the presence of obstacles.

Arun Kumar Singh, Sigal Berman, and Ilana Nisky

9.                  Comparison of surgeon eye gaze across surgical sub-tasks during robot-assisted                  minimally invasive surgery

Irene Tong, Septimiu Salcudean, and Anthony Jarc

10.             Calibration-free gravity compensation on robotic manipulators using tool-mounted force sensor

Piyamate Wisanuvej, Jindong Liu, Konrad Leibrandt, and Guang-Zhong Yang

11.             Communication modalities for supervised teleoperation in highly dexterous tasks – Does one size fit all?

Tian Zhou, Maria E. Cabrera, and Juan P. Wachs


Best Poster Competition:


Congratulations to the winners of the Best Poster Award Competition that were chosen based on votes of workshop participants.


Human-robot effective interaction: human arm joint configuration during teleoperation and free-hand

Jacopo Buzzi, Elena De Momi, Esteban E. Pavan, Carlo Albino Frigo, and Giancarlo Ferrigno


Comparison of surgeon eye gaze across surgical sub-tasks during robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery *

Irene Tong, Septimiu Salcudean, and Anthony Jarc

*without award – first author was Intuitive Surgical intern


Important dates:

June 1, 2015

Call for extended abstracts

August 15, 2015  

Submission deadline

September 1, 2015

October 02, 2015

Notification of acceptance

Full day workshop at IROS Conference in Hamburg, Germany



Supported by:


The Halmsley Charitable Trust via the ABC Robotics Initiative at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev