News

20th February 2017

SSAT Award

The Hamlyn Centre had the honour to receive a funding from the EPRSC to achieve our goal of excellence in two different axes. The first axe is the consolidation of our robotic control capabilities and the development of our micro-robotic fabrication platform. The second axe is an update of our clinical diagnostic imaging equipment and characterisation equipment to allow for a better understanding of our processes.

We present here a list of the new equipment that has been acquired.

  • Force dimension Sigma 7 haptic device and Omega 7
    Robotic systems developed for surgery must allow for intuitive and precise control, while also providing accurate and reliable force feedback. The latest generation of master interfaces offer 7 degrees of freedom haptic feedback in position, orientation and grasping. These high grade controllers allow better force rendering and offer great potential for future surgical robotics.
  • Micro-Robot and Sensing fabrication lab
    To deal with micro-robotics and sensing with micro- or nano-scale devices, specific equipment is required to allow for the highest possible standard in terms of purity, homogeneity and control of environmental parameters. This set of tools has been selected to provide us with the possibility to extend our control to another scale.
  • Nanoscribe system upgrade
    The Nanoscribe system is an integral part of our current research in the development of micrometre-scale surgical tools and for the development of novel materials to create these tools. The Nanoscribe can also be used to create custom 3D printed optical components. This system upgrade expand our current system's capabilities to print larger-scale structures (10s of microns to 10s of millimetres) and 2.5D structures.
  • Metal and Polymer Thin Film Deposition system
    Our project of micro-robotics and new sensor development neede upgraded fabrication equipment. Thin film deposition can be achieved using several techniques depending on the material and the quality required. This deposition device allows for easy, quick and versatile deposition using E-beam, sputtering or thermal evaporation in a completely modular manner. This provide our laboratory with rapid prototyping capabilities for a large variety of new micro-robotic systems.
  • Metal and Polymer Thin Film Deposition system
    Our project of micro-robotics and new sensor development neede upgraded fabrication equipment. Thin film deposition can be achieved using several techniques depending on the material and the quality required. This deposition device allows for easy, quick and versatile deposition using E-beam, sputtering or thermal evaporation in a completely modular manner. This provide our laboratory with rapid prototyping capabilities for a large variety of new micro-robotic systems.
  • Olympus Stereo Endoscope
    The innovative development of new robots for surgery can only be accomplished if coupled with the best state-of-the-art visualisation systems. This flexible endoscope provide full 3D HD visualisation with the highest speed, accuracy and precision on the market. The additional flexibility offered by this system open the door to deeper and less invasive robot assisted surgical procedures.
  • Multi-channel Potentiostat
    Electrochemical sensors offer a large selection of applications in live (and post) surgical monitoring. Undertaking parallel measurements with a large number of those devices allow for the multiplexed study of complex systems and targeted detection of specific biomarkers. In the first instance, studies of this sort require a multi-channel potentiostat for sensor readout.
  • Raman Hand Held Spectrometer
    One of the major challenges of the future of medical sensing is to bring the laboratory to the patients. This portable Raman spectrometer can be easily transported to different laboratories for on-site characterisation and testing. This allow for the characterisation of both the materials used in our micro-sensors and bacterial samples. As such, this system provide vital characterisation capabilities and also act as a step towards in situ Raman spectroscopy for the clinical detection of infection.
  • Impedance Analyser 120MHz
    Impedance analysers are necessary in characterising the electrical properties of materials across a bandwidth of interest. This is important for the development of novel materials (such as various conducting polymers), electronic devices (e.g. resistors, capacitors, inductors) and sensors. Tissue bio-impedance sensors, capacitive sensors, electrodes for neural prostheses, and electrochemical sensors all require their impedance properties to be known. The impedance analyser allow these measurements to be made and, importantly, such measurements is necessary in the development of not only implantable and wearable sensors but also micro-robotics.
  • Semiconductor Characterisation System
    The development of novel electronic devices and materials requires the characterisation of the static electrical properties of the devices under various biasing conditions. This semiconductor characterisation systems employ a number (4) of source meter units (SMUs) to allow characteristic V-I curves to be obtained of 2, 3 and 4 terminal devices as well as a C-V unit for accurate capacitance and inductance measurements. Such a system is essential for the characterisation of novel sensors and devices for implantable, wearable and micro-robotic applications.
  • Electroencephalography device
    Our robotic lab has been equipped with a new EEG (Electroencephalography) device for non-invasive monitoring of the electrical activity of the brain, widening our capacity to investigate new pathways to enrich human–machine interaction.
 
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Florent Seichepine
Research Associate

5th February 2017

SSAT Award

Lord Prior met Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial, and Professor Lord Ara Darzi, Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at the College, at the Hamlyn Centre.

The Minister at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy came to the College on one his first visits as part of the Government’s consultation process on the Industrial Strategy Green paper, which was unveiled by Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, on 23 January 2017.

The green paper aims to build on our strengths and make the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business.

As part of the ten point plan outlined in the green paper, the Government announced that it was focussing on ‘investing in science, research and innovation’. Lord Prior’s visit to Imperial was to see first-hand the types of technologies and innovations that will drive UK excellence into the future.

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Colin Smith
Communications and Public Affairs
 
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Amanda Wolthuizen
Communications and Public Affairs

24th January 2017

SSAT Award

11 papers from The Hamlyn Centre have been accepted for publication at this year's IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2017)! We look forward to presenting our work to you in May! The publications to appear at ICRA 2017 are as follows:

  • "Implicit Gaze-Assisted Adaptive Motion Scaling for Highly Articulated Instrument Manipulation"
    Gauthier Gras, Konrad Leibrandt, Piyamate Wisanuvej, Petros Giataganas, Carlo Alberto Seneci, Menglong Ye, Jianzhong Shang, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "A Learning Based Training and Skill Assessment Platform with Haptic Guidance for Endovascular Catheterization"
    Wenqiang Chi, Hedyeh Rafii-Tari, Christopher James Payne, Jindong Liu, Colin Bicknell, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "Autonomous Scanning for Endomicroscopic Mosaicing and 3D Fusion"
    Lin Zhang, Menglong Ye, Petros Giataganas, Michael Hughes, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "Hybrid microrobots using pH- and photo-responsive hydrogels for cancer targeting and drug delivery"
    Maura Power, Salzitsa Anastasova, Suzanne Shanel, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "Three-Dimensional Robotic-assisted Endomicroscopy with a Force Adaptive Robotic Arm"
    Piyamate Wisanuvej, Petros Giataganas, Konrad Leibrandt, Jindong Liu, Michael Hughes, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "A Framework for Sensorless and Autonomous Probe-Tissue Contact Management in Robotic Endomicroscopic Scanning"
    Rejin John Varghese, Pierre Berthet-Rayne, Petros Giataganas, Valentina Vitiello, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "A Single-Port Robotic System for Transanal Micro-Surgery - Design and Validation"
    Jianzhong Shang, Valentina Vitiello, Konrad Leibrandt, Carlo Alberto Seneci, Piyamate Wisanuvej, Jindong Liu, Petros Giataganas, Gauthier Gras, James Clark, Ara Darzi, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "Gaze Contingent Control for Optical Micromanipulation"
    Maria Grammatikopoulou, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "Effective Manipulation in Tight Spaces of Highly Articulated Robotic Instruments for Single Access Surgery"
    Konrad Leibrandt, Piyamate Wisanuvej, Gauthier Gras, Jianzhong Shang, Carlo Alberto Seneci, Valentina Vitiello, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "Efficient Proximity Queries for Continuum Robots on Parallel Computing Hardware" 
    Konrad Leibrandt, and Guang-Zhong Yang
  • "A Balloon Endomicroscopy Scanning Device for Diagnosing Barrett’s Oesophagus"
    Siyang Zuo, Michael Hughes, and Guang-Zhong Yang

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Charence Wong
Research Associate

27th May 2016

SSAT Award

Well done to Dr Mohan Singh and Dr Kim Honselmann for winning the 2016 Residents & Fellows Research Conference award at the 57th annual meeting of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract held in San Diego, USA!

SSAT AwardMohan obtained this prestigious award for his work on the application of gold nanorods in both early and late stage cancers entitled, "Application of Gold Nanrods in Cancer Theranostics".

An excerpt from his work:

"Gold nanoparticles can be utilised as photothermal therapeutic agents because of their strongly enhanced absorption of the near infrared light (NIR) region resulting in hyperthermia induced by their surface plasmon resonance. We investigate the fluorescence-guided photothermal effect from gold nanorods (GNRs) in the diagnostics and therapy (theranostics) of in vivo upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma.

This study examines the theranostic potential of GNRs on adenocarcinoma in vivo, which has a place in both early and late stage cancers. Fluorescence imaging of GNRs that localise to cancerous tissue enhances cancer diagnosis. When coupled with a single short delivery of NIR light, this minimally invasive and clinically translatable technique can safely and effectively produce irreversible tumour photodestruction. Providing an alternative means of cancer theranostics that is cheap, rapid and effective can instigate significant improvements in prognosis, treatment and quality of life."

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Charence Wong
Research Associate

9th May 2016

Hedy and Chris with Prof. Yang

Inquisitive minds of all ages flocked to Imperial College London's South Kensington campus on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May for this year's Imperial Festival to find out more about our research! The event also coincided with the Alumni Weekend, which gave past students and staff a great opportunity to catch up with the latest developments at Imperial. The imaging, robotics, and sensing teams from the Hamlyn Centre had all prepared interactive demonstrations to showcase their work.

#impfest - Research Zone#impfestIn the Research Zone on Queen's Lawn, our imaging team were there to present "navigating the heart". They, quite literally, wore hearts on their wrists to explain the different parts of their research, from explaining the basic anatomy of the heart, to the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for cardiac imaging, tracking the position of surgical instruments, and augmenting the capabilities of those tools through software. Visitors also had the chance to try and navigate around our 3D heart themselves!

#impfest e-AR motion sensorIn the Great Hall, our robotics and sensing teams joined forces to show the public how an idea, sketched on paper, can be brought to life through 3D modelling, artificial intelligence, and wearable sensors. In the hands-on sessions, participants designed racetracks, cars, gardens, and bugs; participants were then able to enter their completed 3D creations into the School Robotics Challenge or Autonomous Driving Challenge, which form part of next month's UK Robotics Week.

The UK's first Robotics Week will be taking place from Saturday, 25th June to Friday, 1st July. A series of events and competitions have been organised across the UK to showcase the latest innovations and also to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds.

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Charence Wong
Research Associate

4th May 2016

Hedy and Chris with Prof. Yang

Students from the Hamlyn Centre were out in force at the Postgraduate Ceremony as they celebrated their academic achievements with family, friends, and colleagues. Well done and all the best for the future to all graduands!

Chris, Hani, Charence, and Hedy outside the Royal Albert HallStephen, Chris, Hedy, and Charence in the Royal Albert Hall
If you are interested in starting a career in research, visit our MRes and PhD programmes page for more information.

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Charence Wong
Research Associate

25th April 2016

Online tracking and retargeting with applications to optical biopsy in gastrointestinal endoscopic examinations

Objective metrics of technical performance (e.g., dexterity, time, and path length) are insufficient to fully characterize operator skill level, which may be encoded deep within neural function. Unlike reports that capture plasticity across days or weeks, this articles studies long-term plasticity in functional connectivity that occurs over years of professional task practice. Optical neuroimaging data are acquired from professional surgeons of varying experience on a complex bimanual coordination task with the aim of investigating learning-related disparity in frontal lobe functional connectivity that arises as a consequence of motor skill level. The results suggest that prefrontal and premotor seed connectivity is more critical during naïve versus expert performance. Given learning-related differences in connectivity, a least-squares support vector machine with a radial basis function kernel is employed to evaluate skill level using connectivity data. The results demonstrate discrimination of operator skill level with accuracy ≥0.82 and Multiclass Matthew's Correlation Coefficient ≥0.70. Furthermore, these indices are improved when local (i.e., within-region) rather than inter-regional (i.e., between-region) frontal connectivity is considered (p = 0.002). The results suggest that it is possible to classify operator skill level with good accuracy from functional connectivity data, upon which objective assessment and neurofeedback may be used to improve operator performance during technical skill training.

This work was developed as a collaborative research study between scientists at the Hamlyn Centre and surgeons, Dr. Kunal Shetty and Dr. Daniel Leff. Leading this multidisciplinary research was Prof. Guang-Zhong Yang.

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[1] Andreu-Perez Javier, Leff Daniel Richard, Shetty Kunal, Darzi Ara, and Yang Guang-Zhong, "Disparity in Frontal Lobe Connectivity on a Complex Bimanual Motor Task Aids in Classification of Operator Skill Level," Brain Connectivity. April 2016, ahead of print. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/brain.2015.0350.

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Charence Wong
Research Associate

15th April 2016

Online tracking and retargeting with applications to optical biopsy in gastrointestinal endoscopic examinations

To examine abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract (GI), which may be attributed to diseases such as Barrett’s esophagus and colorectal cancer, tissue biopsies are usually taken during endoscopy to provide a definitive pathological diagnosis of the tissue sample. Recent techonological advances in biophotonics have enabled the development of non-invasive diagnosis methods, such as optical biopsy. The advantage of optical biopsy techniques is the ability to perform tissue characterisation in real-time in vivo and in situ, as it avoids the need to extract tissue for offline histological analysis. However, consistent retargeting of previously visited biopsy sites in GI examinations is challenging, especially for optical biospy as the non-invasive technique does not leave any marks on the tissue.

To address the challenges, Ye et al [1] introduces, "Online tracking and retargeting with applications to optical biopsy in gastrointestinal endoscopic examinations". Based on the concept of tracking-by-detection, an online detection cascade is proposed which can be integrated with other temporal tracking methods, and a RANSAC-based location verification component is proposed for robust retargeting. Detailed in vivo validation of the proposed method demonstrates that optical biopsy sites can be robustly retargeted and that the method outperforms the existing state-of-the-art.

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[1] Menglong Ye, Stamatia Giannarou, Alexander Meining, Guang-Zhong Yang, "Online tracking and retargeting with applications to optical biopsy in gastrointestinal endoscopic examinations, Medical Image Analysis," Volume 30, May 2016, Pages 144-157, ISSN 1361-8415, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.media.2015.10.003.

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Charence Wong
Research Associate

9th March 2016

IGHI Student Challenge winner - Harriet Gliddon

A new way to test for tuberculosis from final year Imperial medical PhD student, Harriet Gliddon, claimed the top prize in this year's Institute of Global Health Innovation's Student Challenges Competition. The runner-up prize was claimed by James McIllory, a medical student at the University of Aberdeen, and the Audience Choice Award went to Antonios Chronopoulos and Tyler Lieberthal.

The student challenges competition provides a platform for UK-based students to showcase their global health research ideas and secure funding to develop it to the next stage. The IGHI hosts the Dragon’s Den style event each year, which is open to all undergraduate or postgraduate students in the UK, welcomes ideas that cover any aspect of global health. For example:

  • Aiding patients with physical disabilities in the developing world;
  • Improving sanitation and hygiene;
  • Tackling chronic diseases;
  • Finding new diagnostics for infectious diseases in remote areas;
  • Enhancing and reshaping global health policy and processes

The 2016/17 Competition will open for entries again in Winter 2016.

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Charence Wong
Research Associate