[robotics-worldwide] PhD position in medical robotics at LSIIT laboratory, Strasbourg, France

Florent Nageotte nageotte at unistra.fr
Wed Jun 27 12:56:56 PDT 2012

The LSIIT laboratory in Strasbourg, France, offers a PhD position in  
the AVR research group (Automatic control, Vision and Robotics) for a 
thesis project proposition named :
"Developpment of measure solutions for medical flexible endoscopy"

*Context : robotized assistance to flexible endoscopy
This PhD position concerns the field of robotic assistance to medical 
interventions. We aim
at assisting procedures involving flexible systems such as flexible 
endoscopes. Flexible systems are largely used in the medical field 
because they have the capability to reach distant areas of interest 
through tortuous and restricted natural channels (oesophagus, colon, 
urethra, veins, etc.). Nowadays these systems are used for complex tasks 
such as complete surgical
operations. For these new uses the required positioning accuracy is 
important and in this context motorization and robotization appear as 
interesting solutions for manipulation problems. For instance 
robotization allows teleoperation modes or autonomous assistance.

However, in practice the automatic control of these flexible systems is 
difficult. Because of the transmission of motion through long flexible 
shafts, often under constraints, non-linear behaviors are observed, 
which are dependent on multiple parameters. It is then difficult to 
obtain good models and consequently open-loop model-based control is not 
satisfying. For obtaining a good positioning accuracy in the operational 
space the use of an additional sensing system seems mandatory. Up today 
most of works in this direction use electromagnetic sensors. They allow 
to quickly assess control schemes in the laboratory, but they are not 
directly usable in vivo.

*Objectives : use of embedded camera for accurate positioning
In this PhD thesis work we aim at exploring the possibilities offered by 
embedded vision for controlling robotized flexible systems and their 
instruments. Three kinds of problems can be
studied :
     * Positioning of the flexible system holding the camera with respect
     to the environment,
     * Positioning simple instruments (without DOF) passing through a
     channel of the flexible system with respect to this system and with
     respect to the environment,
     * Positioning flexible instruments (with DOFs) with respect to the
     flexible system and the environment.

The requirements will be mainly focused on accuracy but we will also be 
interested by the bandwidth, which is interesting for tracking 
physiological motion. Besides the endoscopic images, data from motors 
encoders and flexible systems models will be used.

These approaches will first be assessed in the laboratory using the 
flexible robotic systems of LSIIT and ISIR, for application to 
teleoperation and automatic motion. The solutions will also be
compared to the use of additional sensors usually proposed in the 
literature but not applicable in vivo, such as accelerometers or 
magnetic sensors, in order to show feasibility and / or limitations of 
the use of images.

The final objective is to assist the medical staff during operations 
using flexible systems. Two main applications are planned: intraluminal 
surgery for electrosurgical cutting and ureteroscopy for laser lithiasis 

*Research Environment : LSIIT / ISIR collaboration inside the CAMI
       "Excellence Laboratory"
The PhD student will mainly work in the AVR group in Strasbourg, France
(newlsiit.u-strasbg.fr/avr_fr/index.php/Accueil). He will be located on 
the medical robotic platform at the IRCAD in downtown Strasbourg. IRCAD 
(www.ircad.fr) is a world-renowned
institute of research on digestive cancers.
The work will be realized in collaboration with the AGATHE team at ISIR 
(Paris) inside the "Excellence Laboratory" CAMI (Computer Assisted 
Medical Intervention) a french multi-platforms laboratory dedicated to 
computer-assisted interventions (www.cami-labex.fr/).

The AVR group has developed several robotic prototypes for intraluminal 
surgery. The ISIR team has also developed a motorized urological 
flexible system. The PhD student will have access to these systems at 
the beginning of the thesis.
The thesis project is also partly integrated in the scope of Strasbourg 
IHU (Institut Hospitalo- Universitaire) MixSurg. The PhD student will be 
able to perform in vivo validations at the IRCAD.

*Expected candidate profile
The candidate must have a master degree or should have graduated from an 
engineering school with major in computer vision, robotics or image 

Good knowledge in computer programming  (C / C++, linux) and knowledge 
of computer vision hardware (video cameras, framegrabbers) are 
mandatory. Liking of medical field and practical experiments is welcome.

*Practical informations
Starting date is planned in september 2012.
The position will be funded by the CAMI laboratory. Wages will be 
standard for PhD positions in France. Opportunities will be given to 
teach at the Strasbourg University.

For application, send a CV and cover letter to : Florent Nageotte, 
Associate Professor,  Nageotte at unistra.fr
or phone to +33 3 88 11 91 29 for additional information.

Florent Nageotte
Maître de Conférences
Université de Strasbourg
UFR Physique et Ingénierie

tél : 03 88 11 91 29
email : Nageotte at unistra.fr

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