Robotics Seminar-Pietri Valdastri

Pietri Valdastri presents "Magnetic Capsule Robots for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and Abdominal Surgery" as part of the RIM Seminar Series.

The talk will move from capsule robots for gastrointestinal endoscopy toward a new generation of surgical robots and devices, having a relevant reduction in invasiveness as the main driver for innovation. Wireless capsule endoscopy has already been extremely helpful for the diagnosis of diseases in the small intestine. Specific wireless capsule endoscopes have been proposed for colon inspection, but have never reached the diagnostic accuracy of standard colonoscopy. In the first part of the talk, we will discuss enabling technologies that have the potential to transform colonoscopy into a painless procedure. These technologies include magnetic manipulation of capsule endoscopes, real-time pose tracking, and intermagnetic force measurement. The second part of the talk will provide an overview about the development of novel robotic solutions for single incision robotic surgery. In particular, a novel surgical robotic platform based on local magnetic actuation will be presented as a possible approach to further minimize access trauma. The final part of the talk will introduce the novel concept of intraoperative wireless tissue palpation, presenting a capsule that can be directly manipulated by the surgeon to create a stiffness distribution map in real-time. This stiffness map can then be used to guide tissue resection with the goal of minimizing the healthy tissue being removed with the tumor.

Pietro Valdastri received a master’s degree in electronic engineering from University of Pisa, Italy, in 2002, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, in 2006. After spending three years as an assistant professor of Biomedical Robotics at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, he moved his research to Vanderbilt University in August 2011, where he is now an assistant professor of mechanical engineering with a secondary appointment in the Division of Gastroenterology and also serves as director of the STORM Lab. Valdastri’s research focuses on the design and creation of mechatronic and self-contained devices for use inside specific districts of the human body to detect and cure diseases in a non-invasive way. He has extensively used magnetic fields to manipulate and control wireless and soft-tethered meso-scale robots inside body cavities, such as the gastrointestinal tract and abdomen. Valdastri’s research has been published in more than 55 peer-reviewed journal publications. Recently, his work received the Best Technology Award at the 19th International Congress of the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery, the Best Oral Presentation Award at the 2011 Hamlyn Symposium of Medical Robotics, the 3 in 5 Competition Award at the 2012 ASME Design of Medical Devices Conference, and the OLYMPUS ISCAS Best Paper Award at the 16th Annual Conference of the International Society for Computer Aided Surgery.

Event Details


  • Wednesday, September 4, 2013
    12:00 pm - Thursday, September 5, 2013
    12:59 pm
Location: Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Room 1116
Phone: (404) 385-3300

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Josie Giles
RIM Communications Officer