FUSE researchers /

Cohort 1 (2019)

Towards Ultrasonic Autonomous Surgery

In recent years, there have been multiple advancements within the area of ultrasonic surgical devices and within robotically assisted surgery, with the da Vinci surgical system being the best known. However, many current robotically assisted surgeries take place at lower levels of autonomy such as telesurgery or robotic guidance and there is still work that can be done to allow for fully autonomous surgery, even with respect to simple procedures. My project would look towards a system that is able to carry out simple surgical procedures without human intervention.

Some aims would be to:

  • consider if the feedback from the ultrasonic surgical device is suitable to provide the required weight on bit control for the robotic manipulator,
  • develop a suitable control algorithm, or a suite of control algorithms associated with different procedures or devices, to allow the feedback from the ultrasonic surgical device to dictate the movements of the robot manipulator,
  • consider the redesign of the robot manipulator to ensure that the use of the ultrasonic surgical device is being optimised,
  • study the impact of different ultrasonic surgical devices on the control algorithms developed, test the developed system/s under clinical guidance.

This project brings together knowledge of ultrasonics, mechanical and electrical design, and control algorithm design, to allow the development of a system that will lay the foundation for ultrasonic autonomous surgery.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Student Representative & Annual Conference Student Organiser

Miniaturising ultrasonic scalpels for robotic surgery

Abdul Hadi Chibli graduated in June 2019 from the University of Glasgow with an MEng in Mechatronics Engineering, having completed his final year project on the Simulation of a Robotic Worm. He is currently pursuing his PhD as part of the CDT in Future Ultrasonic Engineering and the Centre for Medical and Industrial Ultrasonics. His research project involves applying ultrasonic principles and technology to miniaturize ultrasonic surgical instruments for robotically assisted surgical platforms. Abdul Hadi also gained valuable experience during a two-month placement with CeramTec as an R&D Intern, where he designed and simulated medical ultrasonic devices. He has published three conference papers to date and is currently preparing additional papers. He is a Student Member of IEEE and an Associate Member of the UK IMechE.

Ultrasonic dissection and cauterization instruments, such as the harmonic Ace, which is compatible with the Da Vinci assisted robot, have proven to be better than conventional tools in terms of reducing blood loss during surgical procedures. However, Ultrasonic scalpels that are compatible with the Da Vinci assisted robot have their own issues, such as the long sonotrode, which makes it difficult to manoeuvre inside the patient. Additionally, the temperature may increase drastically, potentially causing a shearing effect on the tissue. Therefore, this PhD will focus on miniaturizing ultrasonic scalpels and integrating them with the Da Vinci robot’s EndoWrist instrument.

Annual Conference Student Organiser

Acoustic Metamaterials for Ultrasonic Applications

My PhD will focus on the design and manufacture of active metamaterials with novel properties, such as, low-frequency operation and super sub-wavelength size. Metamaterials can be defined as artificial materials capable of manipulating waveform media via their structure, rather than their innate material properties, allowing properties previously unobtainable in natural materials to be achieved. Due to this feature, technological advancements in 3D printing plays a significant role in the progress of AMMs, both in academic research and industrial use. This is why a portion of my research will also focus on advancing 3D printing options for AMMs.

My investigations into 3D printing advancement for AMMs has led to a publication titled “Additive Manufacture of Small-Scale Metamaterial Structures for Acoustic and Ultrasonic Applications.” My research to date has focused on developing my experimental and mathematical methods, and identifying specific problems to address based on existing research. For current research, I am developing a custom SLA printing resin that contains active magnetic elements. This will enable active AMMs to be 3D printed quickly and easily – a significant milestone in progressing AMMs to industrial use. Prototype AMMs devices will be printed with magnetic non-contact control and their performance compared against mathematical and COMSOL models for validation.

Topics that are of interest for collaboration are: acoustic metamaterials, 3D printing, acoustic modelling, COMSOL, acoustic experimental testing. Please feel free to contact me at: a.gardiner.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Student Representative

Technology Critical Metal Recycling using Ultrasonics and Catalytic Etchants

The growth in consumer electronics coupled with the increase in ownership and shortened lifespan of electronic devices has led to significant global increase in the volume of electronic waste (e-waste). Currently, there is an estimated 55Mt of e-waste generated globally per annum and this is expected to rise to around 75Mt by 2030. The content of precious metals in electronic waste such as printed circuit boards (PCBs) can be greater than ten times the concentration found in enriched mineral ores. Thus, considering that the value of raw materials in e-waste, globally, is approximately $57 billion, PCBs present an attractive resource for metal recovery.

Currently pyro- and hydrometallurgy processing remain the primary methods for recovery of metals from PCBs. However, significant processing is required to separate the valuable components out. These processes involve either extensive heating, resulting in hazardous gas formation; or leaching in high volumes of toxic acids. Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) can provide an alternative approach to recovery of metals from e-waste. DESs are a class of ionic liquids which are low cost, easy to prepare and can be tailored for selectivity. Currently, the main drawback of DESs occurs due to their high viscosity, which is detrimental to fast dissolution kinetics, leading to slow rate of etching of material. The addition of high-power ultrasound to the DES enables significantly enhanced dissolution of material, aiding to overcome the current drawbacks of DESs and provide a promising new green recycling process for the treatment of e-waste.

The Technology Critical Metal Recycling using Ultrasonics and Catalytic Etchants (SONOCAT) project led by the University of Leicester in collaboration with the University of Glasgow aims to investigate; through state of the art high-speed cameras, novel in-house acoustic detectors and chemical analysis; the combination of DESs and ultrasonics to develop an understanding of the etching process and ultimately develop a system capable of efficient, green recycling of e-waste.

Curriculum & Cohort Recruitment Student Representative

Automation for Patient Screening

Ultrasound is a widely utilized clinical diagnostic modality that presents significant untapped opportunities in the market today. The burden of ensuring adherence to the guidelines, producing diagnostically relevant imagery and interpreting them is placed entirely on the operator. This project leverages AI and advanced Imaging techniques to maximize the potential of ultrasound equipment, reducing the burden by automating many common abdominal procedures.

In a collaborative effort between Canon and FUSE CDT, Alistair has used his extensive clinical knowledge and experience to explore many advanced AI solutions to diagnostic challenges, including automation and workflow optimization, from an initial focus on image-based machine learning detection to a fully featured abdominal assistive navigation technology. This allows AI to reduce the burden on the user by providing assistive guidance in how to move the probe to collect of anatomically relevant cross sections, not only reducing user skill requirement but improving scan speed, accuracy, and adherence to protocol by automatically collecting the correct clinical planes.

Being deeply embedded into the host company has allowed Alistair to be a part of a corporate research team, directly responding to the corporate sponsors’ requirements while maintaining links to the university to allow to rapidly prototype proof of concept tools using university resources.

External Engagement Student Representative