Controlling a surgical robot using a game controller

Study level

Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Anjali Tumkur Jaiprakash
Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Centre for Biomedical Technologies
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health


Many surgical robots, such as the da Vinci robot, are controlled by an operator using complex teleoperation devices. These devices are designed to be easy for a trained surgeon to use, but are not very intuitive for a novice operator.

There has been much research recently that suggests that people with gaming experience will be better at controlling surgical robots than surgeons due to having more experience controlling objects via a screen. However, having to learn how to use the current teleoperation devices provides a significant barrier for these people when testing their capability with the robot.

We are interested in testing whether using a controller that people with gaming experience are more used to will allow them to perform tasks using a surgical robot better and with a shorter learning curve.

Research activities

The activities to be undertaken during this project will include, but are not limited to:

  • programming an open-source surgical robot (Raven-II)
  • designing a control mapping between the surgical robot and a game controller
  • testing the control mapping by performing a task using the game controller
  • developing skills in programming robots using C++ and Robot Operating System (ROS).


The outcomes of this work should be a ROS package that allows for intuitive control of the RAVEN-II surgical robot using a game controller.

Skills and experience

You should have some experience with:

  • C/C++ programming
  • ROS (preferred)



Contact the supervisor for more information.