Monday, June 29, 2015
The PhD thesis of Claudio Pacchierotti, a former PhD student at the University of Siena and at the Italian Institute of Technology, received the award for the best doctoral thesis worldwide in the field of haptics. During the "2015 IEEE World Haptics" conference, held between June 22nd and June 26th in Chicago (USA), Claudio Pacchierotti has been awarded with the prestigious prize by an examining committee of distinguished international scientists from the fields of haptics and robotics. The PhD thesis, entitled "Cutaneous haptic feedback in robotic teleoperation", addresses the challenge of providing effective cutaneous feedback in teleoperation while guaranteeing the safety of the considered systems. The thesis discusses and evaluates this approach in many scenarios and applications. Particularly interesting is the evaluation of the capabilities of cutaneous-only feedback for robot-assisted surgery applications. Nowadays, in fact, despite its expected clinical benefits, current teleoperated surgical robots do not provide the surgeon with haptic feedback, largely because grounded forces can destabilize the system's closed-loop controller, severely compromising the safety of the system and of the patient. In this respect, the thesis presents a novel cutaneous-only feedback system, able to provide the surgeon with information about the forces exerted by the surgical robot at the operating table while guaranteeing the overall stability of the system. In addition to robotic surgery, other applications addressed in the thesis are needle insertion in soft tissue and telemanipulation in hazardous environment. The thesis has been completed under the supervision of Prof. Domenico Prattichizzo and Prof. Darwin G. Caldwell, from the University of Siena and the Italian Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania (USA), the University of Twente (The Netherlands), and the University of Padova (Italy). Claudio Pacchierotti received his PhD degree in December 2014 from the Department of Information Engineering and Mathematics of the University of Siena, and he is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology (Genova).