Brown, J. D. ; O’Brien, C. E. ; Leung, S. C. ; Dumon, Kristoffel R. ; Lee, D. I. ; Kuchenbecher, K. J.
Using Contact Forces and Robot Arm Accelerations to Automatically Rate Surgeon Skill at Peg Transfer
IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering ( Volume: 64 , Issue: 9 , Sept. 2017 ) / View Abstract, BibTeX and Links


Objective: Most trainees begin learning robotic minimally invasive surgery by performing inanimate practice tasks with clinical robots such as the Intuitive Surgical da Vinci. Expert surgeons are commonly asked to evaluate these performances using standardized five-point rating scales, but doing such ratings is time consuming, tedious, and somewhat subjective. This paper presents an automatic skill evaluation system that analyzes only the contact force with the task materials, the broad-bandwidth accelerations of the robotic instruments and camera, and the task completion time. Methods: We recruited N = 38 participants of varying skill in robotic surgery to perform three trials of peg transfer with a da Vinci Standard robot instrumented with our Smart Task Board. After calibration, three individuals rated these trials on five domains of the Global Evaluative Assessment of Robotic Skill (GEARS) structured assessment tool, providing ground-truth labels for regression and classification machine learning algorithms that predict GEARS scores based on the recorded force, acceleration, and time signals. Results: Both machine learning approaches produced scores on the reserved testing sets that were in good to excellent agreement with the human raters, even when the force information was not considered. Furthermore, regression predicted GEARS scores more accurately and efficiently than classification. Conclusion: A surgeon’s skill at robotic peg transfer can be reliably rated via regression using features gathered from force, acceleration, and time sensors external to the robot. Significance: We expect improved trainee learning as a result of providing these automatic skill ratings during inanimate task practice on a surgical robot.

	author={J. D. {Brown} and C. E. {O’Brien} and S. C. {Leung} and K. R. {Dumon} and D. I. {Lee} and K. J. {Kuchenbecker}}, 
	journal={IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering}, 
	title={Using Contact Forces and Robot Arm Accelerations to Automatically Rate Surgeon Skill at Peg Transfer},