A “pickup” stereoscopic camera with visual-motor aligned control for the da Vinci surgical system: a preliminary study

  • Apeksha AvinashEmail author
  • Alaa Eldin Abdelaal
  • Prateek Mathur
  • Septimiu E. Salcudean
Original Article



The current state-of-the-art surgical robotic systems use only a single endoscope to view the surgical field. Research has been conducted to introduce additional cameras to the surgical system, giving rise to new camera angles that cannot be achieved using the endoscope alone. While this additional visualization certainly aids in surgical performance, current systems lack visual-motor compatibility with respect to the additional camera views. We propose a new system that overcomes this limitation.


In this paper, we introduce a novel design of an additional “pickup” camera that can be integrated into the da Vinci Surgical System. We also introduce a solution to work comfortably in the various arbitrary views this camera provides by eliminating visual-motor misalignment. This is done by changing the working frame of the surgical instruments to work with respect to the coordinate system at the “pickup” camera instead of the endoscope.


Human user trials (\(N=14\)) were conducted to evaluate the effect of visual-motor alignment with respect to the “pickup” camera on surgical performance. An inanimate surgical peg transfer task from the validated Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) Training Curriculum was used, and an improvement of 73% in task completion time and 80% in accuracy was observed with the visual-motor alignment over the case without it.


Our study shows that there is a requirement to achieve visual-motor alignment when utilizing views from external cameras in current clinical surgical robotics setups. We introduce a complete system that provides additional camera views with visual-motor aligned control. Such a system would be useful in existing surgical procedures and could also impact surgical planning and navigation.


Surgical robotics Robot-assisted surgery Minimally invasive surgery da Vinci surgical robot Stereoscopic imaging Visual-motor alignment 



Funding for this work has been provided by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the National Science and Engineering Research Council, and the C.A. Laszlo Chair held by Professor Salcudean. The authors would also like to thank Keith Tsang, Irene Tong, Megha Kalia, Neerav Patel, Dr. Peter Black, and Dr. Chris Nguan for their invaluable input and assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© CARS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Electrical and Computer Engineering DepartmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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