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Colloquium – Ron Alterovitz
March 20 @ 9:50 am - 11:20 am
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
March 20, 2017
Host: Chris Johnson
Computing Motions for Image-Guided Medical Robots
Advances in robotics have the potential to improve healthcare delivery and enable image-guided surgical procedures that are beyond current clinical capabilities. In this talk, we will discuss new image-guided motion planning algorithms to enable healthcare robots to semi-autonomously complete tasks with high accuracy and precision while safely avoiding obstacles (such as sensitive anatomical structures). These algorithms must effectively integrate data from medical images and other sensors, leverage human expertise, compensate for uncertainty due to variability in humans and the environment, consider deformations of soft tissues, and guarantee safety. I apply these new algorithms to two emerging medical devices – steerable needles and tentacle-like robots – designed for image-guided neurosurgery and pulmonary procedures. These devices can maneuver around anatomical obstacles to perform procedures at sites inaccessible to traditional straight instruments. Using models of anatomy extracted from medical images, we compute motions for medical robots by integrating sampling-based motion planners, optimal control, parallel computation, and machine learning. I will also discuss the application of our fast motion planning algorithms to robots in other healthcare contexts, including home assistance for tasks of daily living.
Ron Alterovitz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He leads the Computational Robotics Research Group which develops novel algorithms for robots to enable new image-guided medical procedures and to assist people in their homes. Prior to joining UNC-Chapel Hill in 2009, Dr. Alterovitz earned his B.S. with Honors from Caltech, completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and conducted postdoctoral research at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Robotics & AI group at LAAS-CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) in Toulouse, France. Dr. Alterovitz has co-authored a book on Motion Planning in Medicine, was co-awarded a patent for a medical device, and has received multiple best paper finalist awards at IEEE robotics and computer-assisted medicine conferences. He is the recipient of an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, two UNC Computer Science Department Excellence in Teaching Awards, and an NSF Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.
Research group web site: robotics.cs.unc.edu