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.