Medical Robotics, visualisation and navigation

Ole Jacob Elle
Group leader

Most minimally invasive procedures restrict the access and direct vision to the regions which require surgery. Such procedures require intra-operative image modalities such as ultrasound or endoscopic images to be able to monitor the surgery real-time. In many cases this information is not sufficient to perform the procedure accurately and safely. Merging information acquired pre-operatively, mainly from for instance MRI, CT or PET, with intra-operative data can increase the basis for decisions and thereby improve the safety and accuracy of the procedure. The Medical Robotics, visualization and navigation group develops cutting edge technological solutions which support minimally invasive procedures. The research focus is on image processing methods that are key elements in any software system which supports minimally invasive procedures. In particular, we are focused on developing real-time image-segmentation and - registration methods where segmentation methods finds important anatomical structures such as tumors and vessel structures in images, while registration methods enables fusion of images. Visualization and navigation is required to present the medical images to the surgeon intra-operatively. We are developing visualization systems which use advanced techniques such as augmented reality and volume rendering for this purpose. Robotic surgery which so far primarily has been tele-manipulators like Da Vinci, will in the future in addition to use real-time sensors like force/torque, inertia (accelerometer/gyro) and 3D video be more and more cross-linked with medical image information and move toward automation of surgical procedures. The research group is doing research in all these fields of technology facilitating minimally invasive surgery.

The section is partly financed through the hospital (permanent staff), but to a great extent through projects funded by NFR and EU. We are currently participating in 3 EU-projects :

  • IIIOS (Integrated Intra-operative Imaging Operating System)
  • SCath (Smart Catheterization)
  • I-SUR (Intelligent Surgical Robotics)

Other ongoing projects:

  • Planning and navigation platform for Laparoscopic Liver Resection
  • Semi-autonomous vessel segmentation algorithm
  • Semi-autonomous organ segmentation
  • Catheter tip tracking and catheter navigation in MR
  • Modell based catheter navigation
  • Semi-autonomous ultrasound robot for nedle insertion
  • User interface/Interaction design projects

Contact information:

Ole Jakob Elle, Sognsvannsveien 20, Rikshospitalet, Rom D6, 3006,, Tlf. 23070121, 91171790