Cognitive Surgical Robot

What is a Cognitive Surgical Robot? A tentative definition.

Robotics focuses on systems incorporating sensors and actuators that operate autonomously or semi-autonomously in cooperation with humans. Robotics research emphasizes intelligence and adaptability to cope with unstructured environments.

Hence, Robotics already includes some kind of “intelligence”. To find out what a cognitive robot adds to the above description, it is necessary to know also the definition of Cognition: the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.

Since a surgical robot is used to help and integrate the surgeons capabilities, it is possible to state that a Cognitive Surgical Robot extends the capabilities of a surgical robot by cognitive virtues, by adding:

  • Access to and understanding of:
    • Ontology based workflows,
    • Operating room models,
    • Human body model,
    • Surgeon’s and assistants’ behavioral models.
  • Ability to:
    • manage and control (part of the) workflows,
    • estimate mental states of surgeons and assistants,
    • exchange information with the human partners in diverse forms, e.g.
      • dialog systems,
      • augmented reality displays,
    • search large databases for reasoning examples, and
    • recommend solutions based on fast risk estimation.

Indeed, Cognition may be a “specialization” of the concept of intelligence in robotics, necessary to achieve some partial autonomy.