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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Abhilash Pandya


This thesis describes the development of a new method to control the camera arm of a da Vinci Surgical System. The current surgical systems are entirely controlled by the surgeon, who uses hand controllers and foot pedals to manipulate either the instrument arms or the camera arm. Thus, the surgeon must pause the operation to move the camera arm to obtain a desired view and then resume the operation. The camera and tools cannot be moved simultaneously, leading to interrupted and unnatural movements. These momentary interruptions of the surgical flow could lead to medical errors and to extended operation times. In our system, the surgeon controls the camera arm by the natural movement of his head while being immersed in 3D stereo view of the scene with a head-mounted display. The novel approach enables the camera arm to be maneuvered based on sensors within the head-mounted display. We implemented this method on a da Vinci Standard Surgical System using an HTC Vive virtual reality headset along with the Unity engine and the Robot Operating System (ROS) framework. In addition, this study includes the result of a six-subject usability study that compares the workload of the traditional clutched camera control method against HMD-based control. Initial results indicate a lower physical and mental workload when using the HMD control method.

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