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Remote surgery requires advanced mathematics

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Scientists are taking a step towards remote surgery, which could be performed by a surgeon through a robot. Researchers at Quanser Consulting are using advanced mathematics to build a 'haptic interface', that will allow the surgeon to feel the same forces on his surgical tools as if he was actually performing the operation on the patient.

The new interface, when completed, would mean that the surgeon could control the robotic arm more accurately, by responding to realistic sensations that the robot would be feeling. This should improve the performance of the surgeon significantly.

However, to achieve this, the researchers need to model very delicate movements of tiny servo motors that could control the way the interface responds to a surgeon’s movement.

These simulations would be too difficult, and take too long, to perform by hand, so the team is using Maple, from Maplesoft, to solve the complex systems of differential equations needed to model the kinematics and dynamics of the system. Once solved, the team could then develop the necessary control strategies from within Maple.