Robotically assisted surgery stands to further revolutionize the medical field and provide patients with more effective healthcare. Most robotically assisted surgeries are teleoperated from the surgeon console to the patient where both ends of the system are located in the operating room. The challenge of surgical teleoperation across a long distance was already demonstrated through a wired communication network in 2001. New development has shifted towards deploying a surgical robot system in mobile settings and/or extreme environments such as the battlefield or natural disaster areas with surgeons operating wirelessly. As a collaborator in the HAPs/MRT (High Altitude Platform/Mobile Robotic Telesurgery) project, The University of Washington surgical robot was deployed in the desert of Simi Valley, CA for telesurgery experiments on an inanimate model via wireless communication through an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The surgical tasks were performed telerobotically with a maximum time delay between the surgeon's console (master) and the surgical robot (slave) of 20 ms for the robotic control signals and 200 ms for the video stream. This was our first experiment in the area of Mobile Robotic Telesurgery (MRT). The creation and initial testing of a deployable surgical robot system will facilitate growth in this area eventually leading to future systems saving human lives in disaster areas, on the battlefield or in other remote environments.
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