Controlling a surgical robot using visual feedback

Study level


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Cameron Brown
Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Director, MERF
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Anjali Tumkur Jaiprakash
Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Centre for Biomedical Technologies
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health


Performing surgery is a difficult task that pushes surgeons to their mental and physical limits.

Automation has been able to successfully reduce the burden on human workers in other industries (e.g. manufacturing) and is expected to be able to do the same for surgeons.

Surgical robots are different from most industrial robots as they must be made in a way that makes them able to safely interact with a patient during surgery, which means that the typical methods of automation cannot be applied.

As such, we are aiming to have surgical robots perform tasks autonomously using visual feedback (i.e. using images from a camera).

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)
  • performing camera calibration
  • implementing computer vision algorithms to identify feature locations for a surgical task
  • designing and implement a visual feedback controller for a surgical robot
  • developing skills in programming robots using C++, OpenCV and Robot Operating System (ROS).


The outcomes of this work should be a ROS package that allows for autonomous control of the RAVEN-II surgical robot using visual feedback.

Skills and experience

You should have some experience with:

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



Contact the supervisor for more information.