Camera positioning is critical for all telerobotic surgical systems. Inadequate visualization of the remote site can lead to serious errors that can jeopardize the patient. An autonomous camera algorithm has been developed on a medical robot (da Vinci) simulator. It is found to be robust in key scenarios of operation. This system behaves with predictable and expected actions for the camera arm with respect to the tool positions. The implementation of this system is described herein. The simulation closely models the methodology needed to implement autonomous camera control in a real hardware system. The camera control algorithm follows three rules: (1) keep the view centered on the tools, (2) keep the zoom level optimized such that the tools never leave the field of view, and (3) avoid unnecessary movement of the camera that may distract/disorient the surgeon. Our future work will apply this algorithm to the real da Vinci hardware.
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